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December 2014

Protest works – if it breaks rules

William Hederman - Irish Times

The water-charge demonstrations have worked because of civil disobedience. When people break the rules of protest they force governments to act

Protest is about forcing change rather than asking for change. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly

Protest is about forcing change rather than asking for change. Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly


‘I don’t normally go to protests” is a common remark in the kind of vox pop you might have read about the recent anti-water-charge marches. That people feel the need to clarify this is partly informed by a sense that there is something inherently wrong with being “a protester”, as opposed to simply taking part in this protest. A couple of years ago one of the founders of a campaign against plans to drill for oil in Dublin Bay told me: “We’re not protesters. We’re concerned residents.”

This reluctance to identify as a protester is odd, as to protest, in its various forms, is one of the most valuable social acts. Had there been no protest in the past we would surely live today under some form of feudal slavery.

Posted Date: 
18 December 2014

Izzy to Remain in Prison for Christmas

Shell to Sea

Shell to Sea activist Izzy Ní Ghraidm, in State custody since September, has been refused 'temporary release' for the Christmas period.


Izzy 'at work' on a Shell truck near Aughoose, County Mayo.


Ní Ghraidm was jailed for five months last September on charges relating to the obstruction of Shell contractors at the oil giant's controversial work sites along the Sruwadddacon estuary. At this time of year it is standard practice to offer low-security prisoners the option of spending a period of time at home on 'temporary release' which involves signing on at a Garda station once a day and checking in at the prison once a week. Ní Ghraidm was encouraged by prison wardens to apply for the scheme however when she did her request was refused.

As Izzy will now be spending the Christmas period in prison, Shell to Sea urges its supporters to show their solidarity by to writing her.


Letters & messages of support can be sent to

Izzy Ní Ghraidm,
Dochas Centre
Mountjoy Prison
North Circular Road


Posted Date: 
16 December 2014

Rocky History of Our Right to Natural Resources

Vincent Salafia - Irish Examiner

The 1937 Constitution removed Irish citizens’ rights to the natural resources of their nation that are enjoyed by the citizens of other countries the world over, writes Vincent Salafia


IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT WATER - Joe Murray (left) Andy Storey (right) of AFRI and Terence Conway (centre) of SHELL TO SEA at Decemebr 10th Water Protest in Dublin


SINCE time immemorial, the practical reality of kingship or sovereignty over a nation has involved a system whereby the leader of a particular dynasty or group takes power over national resources, then plunders and divides them between his relatives and supporters.

It happened under ancient Irish kings, and then in earnest under the Norman feudal system, beginning in 1169.

That practice continues to this day in Ireland. With each successive government we see a selling-off of national assets and resources in order to benefit the ruling parties, as opposed to the common good.

It is happening now with water, as it has with other natural resources and national assets, such as oil and gas, minerals, fisheries, wind energy, telecoms, even agriculture, due to the 1937 Constitution which granted ownership of natural resources, including all forms of energy, to the State, in Article 10.

Posted Date: 
15 December 2014

Call for review of Ireland’s UN Human Rights Council membership

Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

A former senior civil servant in the Taoiseach’s office has called for a review of Ireland’s current two-year membership of the UN Human Rights Council, given the Government’s approach to victims of human rights violations such as symphysiotomy.

Posted Date: 
3 December 2014