One group of people who have the skills and wisdom necessary to help us negotiate through the perilous state we're in on the planet at the moment are the indigenous peoples of the world. Their love for, and ability to live in harmony with, Mother Earth is a model of behaviour we ignore at our peril. I came across an example of such a voice from a friend of mine recently in a video taken at the Cancun Climate Conference in Mexico in 2010. The speaker is Casey Camp-Horinek of the Oklahoma Ponca Nation of Native American Indians. "We need a reality check" she says. "We killing future generations by our actions".

{jcomments on}Local residents in Erris involved in the campaign against Shell have noted an increase in Garda harassment in recent weeks. The video below, which was shot on Ash Wednesday (22nd February, 2012), is a disturbing illustration of the level of this harrassment. The video is shot from the car of John Monaghan, a local blacksmith and son-in-law of Micéal Ó'Seighin, one of the Rossport Five. One of the many questions which arises from this video is the Garda use of pepper spray. It was introduced originally in 2008 to provide Gardai with means to defend themselves against attacks. In the video below however the Garda in question in threatening to use it while John Monaghan is still sitting inside the car. What is very worrying to local people about incidents like this is the increasing lack of control being shown by the Garda. The emotional tone to be heard in the voice of one of the Garda confirm this. It does suggest the need for an urgent and thorough review of Garda procedures in the area.


Note: John Monaghan was an invited speaker at the Possibilities 2011 last year which featured as special guest His Holiness the Dali Lama. John's contribution can be see here.


03/03/2012 Update: The incident has now been referred to the Garda Ombudsman. (Read article here).

A recently published report by the Irish trade union SIPTU has reiterated that of 142 countries studied "Ireland has the 2nd lowest take of all the countries studied" from its oil and gas licensing structure. The worst is Cameroon. Initially under the 1975 licensing terms the Irish government held a 50% stake in all oil and gas finds with 50% tax accruing from all profits. In 1987 Ray Burke abolished the 50% stake and any royalties accruing. In 1992 Bertie Ahern reduced the corporate tax from 50% to 25%. In addition under the current licensing structure any oil company which makes a find of Irish oil or gas is not compelled to sell the gas onto the Irish market but can sell it straight into the European grid. If it chooses to sell onto the Irish market it can charge full market price. The report recommends that no further licenses should be granted until a full review of the licensing structure for oil and gas exploration takes place.


Read the full report here.

The UNEP recently issued a report detailing the destructive effects of decades of Shell oil production activities in Ogoniland in Nigeria. The publication was marked in Erris County Mayo by a protest outside the gates of a newly constructed Shell gas refinery. In many ways the local community in Erris are many years ahead of the rest of the country in fighting the greed and corruption that has taken hold during the Celtic Tiger. The short film below was made after a recent trip to the region and records something of what the struggle entails.



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