Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to a racist, misogynist, lecherous, gun-loving, militaristic, anti-environmentalist, tax-avoidance, former bankrupt billionaire. Why? Because, as exposed by WikiLeaks, she is funded by a Wall Street, right-wing Israeli (as opposed to its ordinary citizens) and Saudi elite who shape her policies and favour a world order based on a triumphal globalisation of deregulation that has led to the destruction of indigenous American manufacturing industries and the loss of millions of jobs as their unpatriotic owners transferred their operations to countries where labour is cheap.
The Democratic establishment secretively undermined the campaign of Bernie Sanders, one of their own presidential candidates, an honest progressive socialist who represented the only true alternative to Trump. Unlike Obama, he was prepared to mobilise the poor and middle classes, properly regulate the financial institutions, tax the wealthy, implement free health and higher education student funding, build infrastructure and dismantle free trade agreements such as NAFTA.
Obama did some great things in office. But his failure to honour his populist “Yes We Can” motto by mobilising the nation to stand up to the banks and reform the economic system after the crash of 2008 led to his alienation from the impoverished masses.
Trump filled the vacuum that the Democratic Party hierarchy helped create. But he represents a lie. In the area of economics for instance, real sustainable jobs lie partly in renewable manufacturing, renewable energies, non industrialised organic farming, IoT technologies and not in bringing back coal and increasing other fossil fuels extraction. Trump will start destroying the hard won global consensus on combatting climate change. Life in all its forms on the planet will suffer as a consequence.
This photograph appeared this weekend in a very special pioneering edition of the Galway City Tribune that was provided free of charge to all households in the Ballinfoile-Castlegar locality of Galway city.
It shows a residents' protest in the summer of 1989 outside a meeting of city councillors in City Hall. They were demanding recreational and social facilities in a neighbourhood devoid of such essential community infrastructure even though each household had been levied £500-1000+ to pay for such.
This protest was a finale of a two year campaign that I helped organise. I was then still in my twenties. That evening we secured a series of outdoor sports and leisure facilities including playing fields, a playground, tennis courts, changing rooms and a parkland. We were overjoyed. But sadly it took another 27 years before we finally benefited from an indoor equivalent. It is a state-of-the-art complex comprising, foyer, multi-purpose rooms, Olympic size basketball court, catering area, changing rooms, carpark eetc located in the geographical heart of the locality. It will be publicly owned and managed by the local community in conjunction with the social service enterprise company known as SCCUL. This is great news and we welcome all who made it possible including the community activists, the present Council, council staff including Liam Hanrahan and Shraon Carroll and of course the ex Mayor Frank Fahy on whose watch the complex was completed.
But no community should have had to witness generations of their children being denied leisure facilities. Many of the kids that appear in the photo now have their own children. Some of the adults are no longer alive. So they never saw their hopes and dreams come true.
Since the coming of modern Ireland in the early 1970s and the corresponding growth in urban areas, it was the politically well-connected property speculators, builders and the developers who were allowed to make fortunes out of creating mile after mile of housing estates and streets devoid of community facilities for all ages. They created a soulless urban sprawl rather that resident-centred 'urban villages'.
In countries such as Austria, schools, parks, social centres, public transport and cycle networks are put in place before the people move in. Why not Ireland? People should come before the profit of a small coterie number of speculators.
Finally a big 'Bualadh Bos' to the present hard working team of fellow volunteer hardworking, dedicated, visionary and generous activists who finally secured success including Róisín Ní Fhearrachair, Tímea Becsák, Noelle Donnellan, Mags Douglas, Thomas Cox, Claudiu Baranyai Milagrosa Urroz, Sabrina Commins, Tom Hanley, Paul Hayes, Justine Delaney Michele Chiperi, Una O’Connell and those who were with us until recently including stalwart Michael McDonnell, Helen Caird, Jamie McLaughlin, Laurence Daly, Valerie Pointer, Sheila Mangan, Keith McDonogh, Michael Tiernan. Caitriona Nic Mhuiris Suzanne McNena, Johanna Downes, Tom Costello, Frank Fahy, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. Catherine Connolly TD. and those who helped initiate it all those years ago including Nevin Breen, Peter Rowland, Daibhi O'Cronin, Irene Duffy, Irene Hynes and Paul Tannian.
It was a pleasure to have worked with ye all. Now I can happily move on to other campaigns that hopefully won't take so long to conclude. For I don't have another 27 years left in me!!
Ballinfoile Mor/Castlegar Community Updates
A leading community activist has condemned as ‘environmental and health vandalism’ the proposals by Galway city council to advocate the construction of buildings and a road through the main urban parks as a betrayal of the hundreds of dedicated residents, scientists, teachers and youth who regularly give their time, energies and ideas to developing and maintaining the local authority’s woods, parks and green spaces for the benefit of the general public.
According to Brendan Smith of the Terryland Forest Alliance, “There is a deep sense of shock and a feeling of betrayal amongst Galway’s army of environmental volunteers as we witness council officials undertaking a complete U-turn on long standing environmental policies, which will have serious negative consequences on people’s health, on air quality, on the education of our children, on the county’s commitment to combat global climate change and which will led to the destruction of sensitive wildlife corridors that have taken decades to nurture. We are calling on citizens and their elected representatives to save our city from what can only be described as institutional environmental and health vandalism and are hosting a public meeting on this issue at 7.30pm on Thursday November 24th in the Maldron Hotel near the Kirwan Roundabout on the Headford Road.”
|Community made wildflower meadow in Terryland Forest Park, Summer 2916
In the last few weeks, we have been informed by City Hall that the Terryland Forest Park multi-sectoral steering committee that includes NUI Galway, GMIT, An Taisce, HSE, schools and communities can no longer met due to budgetary restrictions; that a road will be built through the same forest park; that an ancient meadow in Merlin Woods will be bulldozed to make way for a hospice in spite of suitable alterative sites existing nearby; that the council propose to make it illegal for children to climb trees and that the number of workers in park maintenance are being reduced.
|2008: 10,000+ people sign petition which successfully stopped a road being built through Terryland Forest Park
Hence for the sake of our citizens, our future generations and our planet the council’s retrograde steps to design out biodiversity must be halted.
These brutal actions make a mockery of the city being declared a green capital of Europe as the EU Green Leaf City 2017. Projects involving community volunteers played a key role in securing this international accolade. Activists were therefore hoping that the city’s new found international eco-status would led to significant investment and progress being made in promoting greater public access to parks; in overcoming anti-social activity such as illegal dumping and bush drinking in bogs, parks and woodlands; in finally moving forward on the Galway city-Clifden Greenway and in supporting park-based nature learning initiatives for children.
|The Outdoor Classroom
|Traditional Mowing of widlflower meadow in Terryland Forest Park
Heritage enthusiasts have started to use it as a learning hub for traditional rural skills and crafts including the creation of native wildflower meadows where the grass is mowed by using hand held scythes, scarecrow-making events for children, and the introduction of horse drawn ploughing into the park’s organic garden.
Yet we are now faced with the extraordinary situation that the council has decided that Galway’s communities can no longer be involved in developing a park that they actually founded. This decision is the antithesis of civic engagement, a cornerstone of the city’s development strategy.
|Community Tree Planting
Hence there is a genuine fear that the Green Leaf award could become nothing more than mere window dressing, a title without substance, a Greenwash. The council authorities are it seems treating forests and parks as a reserve land bank to be chipped away when land is needed to be cemented and tarmaced over. Not for nothing is Terryland officially recognised as the ‘Lungs of the City’; its nearly 100,000 trees that were mostly planted by the people of Galway since 2000 provide the oxygen needs of up to 400,000 people, absorb over a decade 3,800 metric tons of the carbon dioxide gas that is contributing to global warming and provide €4.64 billion worth of air pollution control over 50 years. This park, stretching from the wetlands of the Corrib along the Dyke Road to the farmlands of Castlegar, has the potential to be even important to Galway than the Phoenix Park is to Dublin. But it is been denied the public resources that it so urgently needs whilst funds and support from steering committee members are being ignored.
We as concerned citizens see ourselves as the defenders of the council’s own recreational, health, community and environmental policies. We are not going to let officialdom destroy our precious life-giving wildlife habitats and green spaces.
The community and environmental sector should once again be viewed as equal partners whose actions over the years have brought many benefits to the quality of life in the city, including stopping the construction of a giant municipal incinerator and its replacement by the first three bin waste recycling system in Ireland as well as the introduction of the country’s first cash-for-cans scheme.”
Volunteers are needed this Saturday (Nov 12) from 11am in the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden to help prepare this neighbourhood facility for a very special vistor on the following Saturday. In a sight not seen for many decades, a horse and plough on November 19th will work the ground of this organic garden located in the Terryland Forest Park.
This is a significant environmental event for Galway and hopefully signals the start of one of the key processes in protecting the soils of the city. Soil, water and air are the basic ingredients of life on the planet. Over the last 50 years, Irish agricultural soils have been seriously degraded by the intensification of farming characterised by the use of large machinery, heavier castle breeds, overgrazing, pesticides and herbicides. Soils have been denied organic materials which is one of its key components; has been contaminated with chemicals and become compacted. This compression of the soils has resulted in flooding as water cannot filter down.
Science tells us that the answer to enriching the soils once again is a combination of farming organically and in using animals such as the horse to plough and to harrow the land. Horses don’t need petrol. Feed them on the hay grown in the lands and their manure can be used to fertilise the soils.
In anticipation of the historic return of a horse and plough to urban Galway, we are asking for as many volunteers as possible to join us this Saturday (Nov 12th) from 11am in order to help in preparing our organic garden with a myriad of exciting tasks such as mowing the ground using hand-held scythes, laying down paths for visitors and in clipping/pruning trees and bushes.