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Looking Back - Resistance to Unconventional Drilling at Woodburn Forest

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This is an analysis of events at Woodburn forest (Carrickfergus, County Antrim) during the exploratory drilling operation being carried out by the company Infrastrata in the spring and summer of 2016. It is intended as a reflection on the successes and failures of the campaign to resist a poisonous and violent extraction of resources from the land, and indeed the lease and seizure of some of that land in an aggressive manner. It draws on personal testimonies; both my own and other activists’ experiences of specific direct actions, set within a broader political analysis of the context within which this sort of struggle is taking place, locally and worldwide.

Shell fined a meaningless 1000 euro after gas flares at Corrib plant

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When the Corrib refinery was being built & resisted campaigners warned that environmental legislation was set up to have no meaningful impact on multinationals.  Two days ago we saw a very clear demonstration of this in practise when Shell was fined EUR1,000 of an estimated EUR240 million in Corrib sales so far this year.  Such a fine has no deterrent impact at all, it might as well have been one cent.

Irish Water bills may be refunded

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Since it's such a nice day, the Labour Party have some good news for you. They'd like to give back all the money they took from those who paid their Irish Water bills. That's quite a turnaround for Fine Gael's junior partner but they say it's because they don't want people "feeling mugged".

Environmental crisis, environmental struggles with Janet Biehl - video from #DABF 2016

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The environmental crisis represents ‘one of the gravest and most severe existential threats to our species survival’. International agreements aimed at curbing fossil fuel emissions have largely been a failure, with the most recent Paris CoP21 conference labelled ‘a fraud and a fake’ by leading climatologist and activist James Hansen. Capitalism’s unrelenting assault on the natural environment has pushed us past the point of continuing any pretence of ‘safe carbon mitigation’. It is becoming more widely accepted that we now need a global restructuring of the economic mode of production; capitalism must be dissolved.

Two climate activists hunger strike at Dail in election week

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On Kildare street this week, two climate activists have been helping inject a taste of sober reality into a week filled with faux-politics and pantomime electioneering. Nils Sundermann and Phil Kearney began a five day hunger strike on Monday in an effort to draw attention to an issue, which whilst one of the most pressing of our times, has failed to make it into the election discussions in any serious way.

Irish Water bills burned in Kildare

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Yesterday afternoon in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, a crowd assembled at 2pm outside the town hall in order to collectively burn their bills in a symbolic act of defiance of Irish Water and the government's plans to introduce a double charge for water provision. The assembled protesters understand that if everyone paid up and Irish Water managed to establish these charges, they would rapidly increase to the point where water charges were a lucrative revenue stream for the company and a significant drain on our limited incomes.
 
If that were to happen, the government would certainly privatise the company and virtually gift ownership of the rights to water provision to a profit seeking company. Nowhere in the Water Services Act (2013) does it say that privatisation is prohibited. In fact, Eurostat noted in a letter to the CSO in July of this year that "Privatisation Of Irish Water Is Ultimately Envisaged". Further, Irish Water was established as a subsidiary of another privatised company, Bord Gáis (privatised in mid 2014 as part of the IMF/Irish State engineered giveaway of Irish assets to international capital).
 

Poolbeg incinerator - city council manager assures company they can ignore vote of council

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In a further confirmation of the empty nature of electoral democracy its been revealed that the Dublin City Council manager wrote to the company building the controversial Poolbeg incinerator to assure them they could ignore the two city council votes against the project. This after a special meeting when 50 out of 52 councillors voted against the proposal!

We defend Public Transport! (Of Irish Rail and EU Privatisation)

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As Iarnród Éireann’s contract for operating train services is due to expire in 2019, the National Bus and Rail Union claims that it will vehemently oppose any move towards privatisation [1].

In recent months, the EU Commission has been pressing for changes which would see Irish Rail opened up to tenders from competitors [2]. The successful operation of the Luas by French company Veolia has convinced EU officials that there would be sufficient demand by other investors for the rail contract [2].

Irish Water fails EUROSTAT – we advance

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Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, will likely decide today that the Irish State’s spending on Irish Water will stay on the exchequer balance sheet. Since Irish Water has failed the market corporation test, money spent on it will be included in the annual deficit and national debt (as measured to meet EU austerity targets). This decision is likely to hold until 2017 [1]. It follows a European Commission report earlier this year which questioned whether Irish Water was ever likely to be self-funding.
 

Two more Rossport community defenders under prosecution as refinery forced through

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Over two years after the last major mass direct action against Shell in Erris the state continues to pursue a vindictive prosecution against some of those arrested that day. In June 2013 at the culmination of a week of action around 70 people entered the Shell compound at Aughoose where the final section of the experimental high pressure raw gas pipeline was being connected.

The local community have been resisting the pipeline and refinery for a decade. During that resistance hundreds have been arrested or injured and several have spent periods in jail. Millions was spent every year deploying hundreds of Garda and at times the airforce and navy to make effective protest impossible. Despite this the protests meant that the project has finished years late and at 3 to 4 times the original projected cost.

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