Category Archives: Natural resources

Scott Masterson of éirígí speaking at protest outside Fine Gael ard fheis on Saturday (January 23)


Scott is one of the people accused of “kidnapping” Labour Party leader and tanaiste Joan Burton at an anti-Water Tax protest in Jobstown early last year (see here).



Great Natural Resources Robbery – next talk in Rathfarnham, Friday, November 20

12246653_1080503811962035_6943700160667517093_nThe next ‘Great Natural Resources Robbery!’ public talk will take place next Friday (November 20th) in the Whitechurch Community Centre in Rathfarnham in South Dublin.

If you are opposed to the Water Tax you need to be at this meeting, as it sets the backdrop for the attempt to introduce the tax and the future privatisation of our water resources. The presentation will be delivered by Brian Leeson, starting at 7.30pm.

Please spread the word and come along. All welcome. Bígí linn.

Public event: Revolutionary politics of Seamus Costello

download6-9pm, Saturday, Nov 14

Newtown Community Centre


Co. Wicklow


Chair: John Davis

Brian Leeson (éirígí ) on the Great Natural Resources Robbery
Erika Brennan (community activist) on the Housing Crisis
Sean Doyle (co-worker of Seamus Costello) on the Politics of Seamus Costello in Today’s Struggle

Pádraig Ó Fearghaíl (Wicklow Remembers 1916 Committee)
Ruan O’Donnell (historian, University of Limerick)

Bígí Linn


The next Great Natural Resources Robbery public meeting, Dublin, October 28

12088272_1067192153293201_6789390201332365049_nThe next ‘Great Natural Resources Robbery!’ public talk will take place at 8pm in the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin 16 on Wednesday, Oct 28th.

Main Speaker: Brian Leeson  (Cathaoirleach éirígí)

Through a detailed breakdown of the multi-billion euro industries that are based on Irish minerals, building materials, natural gas, fisheries, farming, forestry, renewable energies and other resources this presentation will expose the myth of Ireland being a country with very limited natural resources.

But this presentation doesn’t just doesn’t just list Ireland’s natural resources, it explores who actually benefits from the Read the rest of this entry

In review: Maurice Coakley on how Britain under-developed Ireland

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Maurice Coakley, Ireland in the World Order: a history of uneven development, London, Pluto Press, 2012

I read this book a couple of years ago and meant to review it then, but other things got in the way.  To make up for the delay, I’ve done something bigger – basically a mix of summary and review:

Coakley begins with a brief survey of bourgeois and anti-capitalist attempts to explain uneven development, from Weber and Durkheim to Gramsci, Jack goody, Immanuel Wallerstein and Robert Brenner. Coakley is concerend, in particular, with the different patterns of growth exhibited in Britain (especially England but also Scotland and Wales) and does so by exploring the unequal relations between them from the medieval era onwards.

Imposition of feudalism

He notes that the Anglo-Norman conquest resulted in the division of Ireland into Gaelic and Anglo-Norman regions. While the boundaries and interactions were fluid, they possessed different social structures. In the Anglo-Norman areas, a manorial/feudal economy was developed, with the local nobility owing allegiance to the English monarch. The peasantry which worked the land for the new elite included a layer of free peasants (largely transplanted from England) and a larger layer of unfree peasants (serfs) of Irish stock. This latter group was less free than the unfree peasants (villeins) in England itself. For instance, they had no legal rights at all.

The crisis of feudalism throughout the 1300s in Europe, including Ireland, explains the decline of Anglo-Norman power and the English language. It also reduced free tenants to labourers. This produced a significant return to England by peasants wishing to avoid greater subjection. The lords in Ireland were then forced to make concessions to Irish peasants. This combined with the impact of the plague largely finished off serfdom by about 1500.

The economy, moreover, had shifted in the 1300s back largely to pasture. This meant a different form of social organisation to tillage, where peasants laboured for a lord. Pasture involved a more kindred pattern of social organisation. The Anglo-Normans were also becoming Gaelicised. But Anglo-Norman-Gaelic Ireland was a hybrid social formation because as well as the kindred social organisation the major feudal lords were more powerful than their counterparts in England who were checked by the king from above and a large lower aristocratic layer and yeomanry below. Even in the Pale there was no yeomanry.

In the distinctly Gaelic and predominantly pastoral areas of Ireland, land and cattle denoted power. Access to land was dependent on kinship, with collective inheritance. While cattle were individually owned they were also dispersed; for instance, through being loaned to poor members of a clan. There was no significant surplus product which might create and sustain a Gaelic ruling class and state comprised of bodies of armed men; rather, “the principle of reciprocity permeated every aspect of Gaelic society”, although this did not mean equality. Read the rest of this entry

Connolly College, Baile Átha Cliath, Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 2

Saturday, May 2 will see éirígí Baile Átha Cliath launch a new annual forum for education, discussion, debate and the networking of political activists. The theme of the inaugural ‘Connolly College’ will be ‘We Only Want the Earth – The Fight for Control of Ireland’s Natural Resources’.

The one day event, which take place in Wynns Hotel on Abbey Street, Dublin on May 2nd will be broken into three separate sessions broadly focused on:

  • James Connolly on Natural Resources
  • Ireland’s Natural Resources – A Sectoral Breakdown
  • From Rossport to Coolock – Stories of Resistance in the Struggle for Control of Ireland’s Natural Resources

Following the final session there will be an opportunity for people to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances whilst discussing the day’s proceedings over refreshments.

Confirmed speakers include the author, historian and co-author of the ‘Come Here to Me!’ blog Donal Fallon, éirígí’s Brian Leeson and the Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington.

The Connolly College is open to all and no cover charge applies.  Hope to see you there.

Bígí linn.

Kildare turf-cutters now on Facebook

The Kildare turf-cutters have a Facebook page to make their case and advertise their political campaigning.  They’ve stuck up our most recent article on the turf-cutters’ cause.  Check out:

Bankers go free, turf-cutters face imprisonment

turfby Mick Healy

On 9 March 2012 four-and-a-half thousand working people took part in an agrarian-style demonstration outside Leinster House organised by the Turf Cutters’ and Contractors’ Association. As a result the Dublin parliament passed a motion tabled by Luke Flanagan TD in support of the turf-cutters and for a national raised-bog restoration plan.

Having previously rejected the turf-cutters’ case, the Government promised to organise a delegation to travel to Brussels to meet the EU Commission in an attempt to resolve their grievances. This was not to be, as the Government simply reneged on the commitment made to the turf-cutters.

More than a year later, however, the government is continuing its offensive against Read the rest of this entry

Some home truths from the recent Kildare Turf Cutters Association / National Parks and Wildlife Service meeting

Below is an article the Kildare Turf Cutters Association has submitted to the Leinster Leader:

The Kildare Turf Cutters Association (KTCA) including representatives from Mouds Bog (SAC), Ballynafagh Bog (SAC), Hodgestown Bog (NHA) and Black Castle Bog (NHA Edenderry) met with three executives of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at Sarsfields GAA Clubhouse on May 1st 2013. It was explained that the KTCA was attending the meeting under protest, to a great extent, as many members did not see any merit in the meeting, but that the KTCA would not give it to Minister Jimmy Deenihan to proclaim that the KTCA was in some way unreasonable and would not meet him or his agents.

The meeting lasted for three hours and the position of both sides on many issues was clarified.

Fairness of relocation

The NPWS considers that relocation is the main remedy for the cessation of turf cutting on the raised bogs it has designated as Special Areas of Conservation. It also clearly states on its website that “The Government is committed, as part of the social partnership process, to the payment of a fair and proper level of compensation to landowners and users for actual losses suffered due to restrictions imposed as a result of their lands being included in formal proposals for designation as NHA, SAC or SPA”. The problem here however is – what is fair? And why does Read the rest of this entry

éirígí Water Meter Sabotage Video takes off

indexéirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has welcomed the fact that an éirígí video which shows people how to sabotage ‘water-meter-ready’ stopcock chambers has started to go viral.  The video, which was only posted on Tuesday evening, has already recorded in excess of 9,000 views.  Speaking from her Ballyfermot constituency Minihan said, “We are delighted by the early success of this video.  The fact that almost ten thousand people have viewed the video in such a short period of time is testament to the extremely high levels of opposition that exist to the new water tax.  The feedback that we have received to date has been overwhelmingly positive with many people thanking us for highlighting an effective and simple way to oppose the water tax.”

Minihan continued by defending the content of the video, “I have no doubt the usual apologists for austerity will be quick to criticize the video with claims that it is encouraging the destruction of public property, but I don’t see it that way.  The video shows people how to prevent a water meter from being fitted to a stopcock chamber that was specifically designed to accommodate one, while ensuring that the actual stopcock tap can still be used.  Nothing is actually broken or destroyed in the process; it simply ensures the chamber only performs a single function and that is to accommodate the stopcock tap.  If a family chooses to protect their access to safe, clean, drinking water by copying the video I have no problem with that.”

Opposing the privatisation of water services Minihan said, “The dogs on the street know that the fitting of water meters and the introduction of a water tax is only the first step on the road to the complete privatisation of the Read the rest of this entry