Archive for April, 2013

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Over 4,000 people turned out for the “A Walk in the Woods” today (Sunday April 28th) in Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. The event featured songs, poems and readings from prominent musicians, actors and poets including: Christy Moore, Paddy Casey, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Dave Lordan (Award winning poet), Brid Ni Neachtain (Actor), Denis Conway (Actor & Director, Oroboros Theatre Co.), Landless (Folk Musicians), Larry Beau (Singer), Madu (North African Singers) & more.

Speaking at the protest Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “We are getting an enormous response from across the country for this event and expect a large turn-out for our “walk in the woods.” People are utterly shocked when they hear of the government’s intention to sell-off this priceless piece our natural heritage to pay off the gambling debts of bankers. The purpose of this event is to urgently ring the alarm bells and alert the wider public of the imminent threat to our public forest estate – an absolutely precious cultural, historical and economic asset. We are delighted that so many, prominent musicians, actors and poets are taking part to highlight that this proposal to privatise our public forests is not just an act of economic theft but it is also a shameful betrayal of our culture, our heritage and our history. It is beyond belief that we are being forced to sell our forests to pay the debts of bankers and bankers may end up owing our forests. It is an act of cultural and economic sabotage and must be stopped.”

Andrew St Ledger, PRO The Woodland League said, Irelands Public forests belong to the grandchildren of Ireland and their grand-children, they should be managed wisely using a new community oriented model to ensure a future for the generations to come. This underhanded short-sighted plan to sell Public Forests must be stopped.

The “Walk in the Woods” is also supported by: Sebastian Barry (Author), Stephen Rea, Catherine Murphy TD, Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD, John Halligan TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Paul Murphy MEP, Martin Ferris TD, Patrick Nulty TD, People Before Profit Alliance, Keep Ireland Open, Friends of the Earth, Unite Trade Union, SIPTU, United Left, Socialist Workers Party, Sinn Fein.

(Photos: nmcgabhann/wbyl- (c) All rights reserved copyright)

Urgent call on public to mobilise to Avondale as prominent artists and activists join forces to oppose public forest sale

forestsIn a statement the Natural Resources Protection Alliance & The Woodland League have appealed to the public to join the “Walk in the Woods” protest and concert in Avondale Forest Park this Sunday April 28th to oppose the sale of the harvesting rights to Ireland’s publicly owned forest estate under the EU-IMF ‘Troika programme.

“The Walk in the Woods” will feature songs, poems and readings from Christy Moore, Paddy Casey, Jeremy irons, Sinead Cusack, Denis Conway, Brid Ní Neachtain, Larry Beau, Madu, Landless & more. The event will assemble at 1pm in the car-park of Avondale House.

In their statement, the organisers said that it was deeply ironic that a charity was this weekend organising communities across the country to plant one million trees, while at the same time the government was moving to sell-off tens of millions of trees to pay-off the gambling debts of private financial institutions.

The organisers also strongly criticised the government for breaking pre-election promises that they would oppose moves to privatise Coillte and retain the national forest estate in public hands. They pointed to a statement made in 2011 by the then shadow Agriculture spokesperson for Fine Gael , Andrew Doyle, now chair of the Oireachtas committee on Agriculture, where he said:

“Coillte must stay; forestry is at the heart of Ireland’s response to climate change”.

“Our vital national resources are not up for sale. National resources like forestry, agriculture and marine resources are held in trust for all the people of Ireland. Ministers are stewards of these resources and must return them to the people with benefits after their term in office. That includes the forests of Ireland”

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rbb speakingRichard Boyd Barrett TD is meeting the Troika between 3 and 4pm this afternoon along with a delegation from the Technical Group. He will be questioning them on a number of controversial key areas within the so called stability programme, particularly the current conflicts around Croke Park, the property tax and the timetables for the sale of state assets including Coillte and the introduction of water charges.

“Richard Boyd Barrett TD said there are whole numbers of areas within the Troika’s austerity programme which are now facing serious resistance from ordinary citizens of this country leaving questions over gross unfairness of these measures but also as to whether the government and the Troika are determined to go ahead with these measures and whether they are open to discussions on alternatives”

“The representatives of public sector workers and others have made it clear that there are other alternatives to further attacks on low and middle income workers such as increased corporation taxes, stimulus measures and higher taxes on the wealthy to deal with Ireland’s economic crisis”.

“I will be challenging the Troika as to whether they are willing to consider such alternatives, given recent statements by senior figures in the IMF that austerity is not working.

I will also be making specific points about cruel property tax and a fairer system of tax that targets high earners in society.

In relation to the sale of state assets and in particular plans to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte, I will be asking the Troika whether the government is required to go ahead with this commitment or whether it has the option not to privatise our forests, if as the government has stated recently they believe this is not good value for the Irish tax-payer. I will be pointing out to them that there is fierce opposition to this disgraceful proposal to sell the harvesting rights to Irish forests.

Given Eamon Gilmore’s recent announcement that the plan to impose water charges is being pushed back from January I will be asking if the Troika has agreed to this and what new timetable is for the introduction of water charges.

Finally, I doubt we will get straight answers from the troika but it will be interesting to see whether they are singing off the same hymn sheet as the government”.


pbp-header-1The Natural Resources Protection Alliance and the Woodland League are expecting a large turn-out this weekend for “A walk in the Woods” – A major event to protest against government plans to sell the harvesting rights to 1.1million acres of Ireland’s public forestry.

“A Walk in the Woods” will assemble at 1pm this Sunday April 28th in Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. The event will feature songs, poems and readings from prominent musicians, actors and poets including:

Christy Moore (Musician), Paddy Casey (Musician), Jeremy Irons (Actor), Sinead Cusack (Actor), Dave Lordan (Award winning poet), Brid Ni Neachtain (Actor), Denis Conway (Actor & Director, Oroboros Theatre Co.), Landless (Folk Musicians), Larry Beau (Singer), Madu (North African Singers) & more.

The event will be addressed by event organisers, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, (Natural Resources Alliance) and Andrew St Ledger (Woodland League), and also, Senator Fiach Mc Chongail, Catherine Murphy TD and others.

Avondale Forest Park, now a Coillte Forest, is the Birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell but was also the birthplace of modern Irish Forestry, originally planted by a relative of Parnell’s, Samuel Hayes – an author and early champion of Irish forestry.

A “Walk in the Woods” will include a walk through the Avondale Forest Park, with songs, poems, readings and speeches about Ireland’s forest heritage.

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Richard Boyd Barrett TD challenged the government over planned downgrade of A&E in Loughlinstown Hosptial in the Dail today (24th April 2013).

Watch video of debate below.

rbb-dailDuring Minister’s Questions today, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, challenged Minister for Social Protection, that the JobBridge Scheme is being abused by private companies.

In February, Oxygen, who run the recycling plant in Ballyogan on behalf of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council took on a number of staff via the JobBridge scheme. These staff were trained by workers who then lost their jobs.

JobBridge is the government’s National Internship Scheme that is intended to provide work experience for those on Social Welfare payments as a way to get people back to work.

The intern receives €50 from the state on top of their SW payment and the “host company” is obliged to train and upskill the intern but is not liable to pay any money to the intern.

 The rules for Job Bridge state clearly that:

  •  The host organisation currently may not have vacancies in the area of activity in which the internship is offered.
  • The internship will not be provided to displace an employee. The scheme administrator reserves the right to review cases where it is reported that this is the case.

 On 31 March 4 workers lost their jobs at Ballyogan Depot. These workers were employed by A&S Finnegan, a sub-contractor for Oxygen.

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In a statement this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD announced details of a protest that will take place in Dun Laoghaire at 1pm on Wednesday, April 24th.

A conference is taking place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday 24th April on the future of Irish water. It is unclear who is running the conference but it is sponsored by companies such as Ovivo and Bentley Infrastructure.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference will be Minister Fergus O’Dowd. Minister for New Era, who will be speaking on the Govenment’s progress on the reform of the water sector.

Attendance at the conference costs €400.

The Natural Resources Protection Alliance and CAHWT will hold a protest at 1pm at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire.

Richard Boyd Barrett said,”The enormous cost of getting into this conference is a window to the future of Irish water. You need to be rich to talk about water”.

“Corporate vultures are circulating Irish water, aided and abetted by Minister Fergus O’Dowd, Minister for the sale of state assets”.

Richard_Boyd_BarrettIn a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said that he plans to interrogate Enda Kenny during Taoiseach’s questions in the dáil this afternoon, on whether he discussed the most recent evidence that austerity policies have failed during his recent meeting with Christine Lagarde.

According to Eurostat, debt in Eurozone countries has continued to rocket amid unprecedented budget cuts and tax increases. Ireland’s debt levels hit euro-era highs last year, twelve member states recorded a worsening in their government balance relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011, and the Eurozone sovereign debt overall rose to the highest percent on record – 90.6 percent of GDP. Meanwhile Eurozone unemployment levels have hit 12 percent – the highest in the history of the Eurozone.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The Taoiseach owes it to the people to answer some basic questions about the economic policies this government has pursued, especially now that those policies are being discredited left and right.”

“First, we had the IMF criticize the Eurozone’s austerity policies for being too aggressive, then we heard George Soros, America’s most successful investor, predicting that even Germany will enter into recession, and now José Manuel Barroso has said that the EU has reached its limit on austerity. The question is whether Mr. Kenny is taking note of these voices and addressing the issue with his EU counterparts.”

“Both the UK and France have lost their AAA credit rating prompting bond fund managers like Bill Gross of Pimco to criticize the EU’s strategy of cutting debt with severe austerity measures and admitting that these measures will stifle recovery.”

“Most of Europe is in a double dip recession – cuts have failed to stimulate growth and analysts say that unless there is radical policy change the EU could slip into a more serious depression.”

“People deserve to know whether the Taoiseach is listening to economists who predict the Eurozone’s recession will last until 2030 if we remain on this policy path, and they deserve to know what he plans to do about it.”