Arms research exhibition protest

March 23rd, 2017

‘UK a major supplier to ruthless regimes including Saudi Arabia complicit in war crimes in Yemen’

A so called Defence Research Fair which promotes the UK arms industry is being targeted in Wales today (see link):

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/…/protesters-planning-demonstr…

The event is one a number throughout the year art different venues which supports the UK global arms trade.

The United Kingdom is a major supplier of weapons to ruthless regimes in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States which are complicit in war crimes and are currently waging a merciless war against Yemen and killing large numbers of innocent civilian men, women and children.

Events like the one in Cardiff that sustain the arms industry lead directly to the war crimes being committed in places such as Yemen.

This month the Manx government gave aid to the DEC to help alleviate suffering in Yemen in terms of our population it was a substantial sum (see link):

http://www.manxradio.com/…/iom-donates-100k-to-yemen-appeal/

However these efforts are undermined by the UK government and its arms industry which continues to supply hardware to attack schools, hospitals and civilian areas.

Image: Shameful: Welsh police arrest those protesting against ‘Merchants of Death’

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

22/03/17

 

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Tributes paid at the passing of Martin McGuinness Sinn Féin Leader and former Deputy First Minister

March 21st, 2017

Sinn Féin Leader and former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has died after short illness at Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital with his family by his side. A former deputy IRA commander who was a key figure in Irish politics for five decades, his death at 66, prompted tributes from allies and enemies alike.

He earned widespread respect for his efforts to cement a peace deal in Northern Ireland in 1998. Since that time he remained a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification Ireland.

The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, paid tribute saying:

“The world of politics and the people across this island will miss the leadership he gave, shown most clearly during the difficult times of the peace process, and his commitment to the values of genuine democracy that he demonstrated in the development of the institutions in Northern Ireland.” 

Mary Lou McDonald Mary, the Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin and a Teachta Dála for Dublin Central made said in her statement:

 “Today we have lost a great Irish leader and patriot. It’s fair to say that we are heartbroken.

“We are more determined than ever to see Martin McGuinness’s political journey to its conclusion: a fully united, peaceful and socially just Ireland”.

Speaking this morning Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said:

“Throughout his life Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness.

“He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification of his country.  But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both.

“On behalf of republicans everywhere we extend our condolences to Bernie, Fiachra, Emmet, Fionnuala and Grainne, grandchildren and the extended McGuinness family.

 “I measc laochra na nGael go raibh a anam dílis.”

This news item issued by Alastair Kneale for the Celtic League 21/03/17

 

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Search and Rescue a vital but dangerous task

March 17th, 2017

The events of the last few days and the loss of an Irish Coastguard helicopter with all crew members highlight that search and rescue is a vital but perilous task in the waters around these Islands.

In relation to both Ireland and the United Kingdom it was traditionally undertaken by the military although that situation changed in Ireland over a decade ago and in the UK more recently.

Celtic League first took an interest in helicopter search and rescue in Ireland over three decades ago (1983) when we highlighted at that time deficiencies after a particularly arduous ordeal for the crew of a Donegal trawler that drifted for days before being found. (See link to Carn 42 Summer 1983 – P24)

http://www.celticleague.net/…/01/Carn%2042%20Summer%201983.…

The Irish Air Corps used relatively short range Dauphin helicopters which were not really suited to the SAR task but soldered on for years. The Irish Air Corps also leased a more substantial Puma helicopter for a period from the mid 1980s.

By contrast the RAF SAR equipment was fairly well resourced first with Wessex and then Sea King helicopters.

Ireland eventually awarded a contract to CHC the current provider that used large Sikorsky S61 helicopters until these were replaced by the current Sikorsky S92 machines. CHC provide the service to the Irish coastguard from bases in Waterford, Dublin, Sligo and Shannon.

With the phase out of the military role in the United Kingdom a contract was awarded to Bristow who operate from 10 bases around the UK including St Athan and Newquay (Cornwall) Stornaway, Prestwick, Inverness and Sumburgh (Scotland) and Caernarfon (Wales). As with CHC in Ireland Bristow operate Sikorsky S-92 and also smaller Agusta Westland AW189 helicopters.

The coastguard helicopter services in the two countries provide vital search and rescue facilities to both fisherman and coastal communities but as the accident at Blacksod bay has illustrated that vital role can sometimes take its toll of the rescuers themselves.

Sadly it’s not the first occasion on which rescue services in Ireland have suffered loss of this type. In 1999 four crew members of an Air Corps Dauphin helicopter lost their lives when the machine crashed in dense fog at Tramore in Waterford when returning from a rescue mission.

Related links:

https://www.rte.ie/news/1999/0702/2346-helicopter/

http://www.independent.ie/…/investigators-focus-on-possible…

Image: S61 Helicopter the type operated by CHC prior to the S92 which is now used extensively by CHC in Ireland and Bristow in the UK for coastguard SAR.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

16/03/17

 

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Mannin Branch Celtic League
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
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Manx Government donation to disaster emergency Yemen appeal

March 16th, 2017

News from the Mannin Branch of the Celtic League:

The Celtic League has acknowledged the significance of a donation from the Isle of Man government to the Disasters Emergency Appeal for Yemen (link):

http://www.iomtoday.co.im/article.cfm…

The Celtic League have been highlighting the great suffering in that country caused by the ongoing conflict which sees a major part of the country defenceless against air attack from Saudi warplanes.

Health, food and civil defence resources are at breaking point and the UN has warned that a humanitarian crisis exists.

In a letter to Chief Minister Howard Quayle I indicate that I trust the example of the Isle of Man – in global terms a tiny community – will be matched by much larger countries.

Text of letter to Chief Minister:

“Howard Quayle MHK
Chief Minister
Isle of Man Government

14th March 2017

By email:

Dear Chief Minister,

I write to applaud the decision of the Manx government following its decision to provide much needed aid to the strife torn community in Yemen where a humanitarian emergency compounded by the conflict in the country is threatening millions of men, women and children.

It is a commendable decision by the Isle of Man government to recognise and respond to this crisis a situation that we (as an accredited UN NGO) have been highlighting for some months.

The Island is terms of population is a relatively small community and I trust that the DEC will highlight that fact in the hope that other much larger countries will match this proportionately.

I have little doubt that the decision will attract criticism from some in Mann but nonetheless it is the right decision and as indicated above may be a catalyst that prompts like action.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)

pp Celtic League”

Image: Child victims of the Yemen conflict shelter from Saudi warplanes.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

14/03/17

 

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Response details cadet force abuse level in Scotland

March 16th, 2017

A detailed response from the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland to our query about child abuse incidents in the cadet forces. They have now obtained details from the MOD as set out below.

Parallel queries to the Children’s Commissioners in N. Ireland and Wales were not responded to because the Commissioners maintained that ‘Defence’ was not a devolved matter. The reason was somewhat perverse as the military cadet forces are not part of the Defence Forces of the United Kingdom according to the MOD.

The text of the MOD reply concerning Scotland is set out below and does not include details for Sea Cadets.

The Celtic League concern over this was prompted when it was revealed the MOD had paid several million pounds in out of court settlements to resolve sexual abuse allegations.

The Celtic League are grateful for this detailed response from the Commissioner.

‘Ref: FOI2017/01313

Linda Ellis Macdonald Enquiries Officer Children & Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

Reply to: Linda.Macdonald@cypcs.org.uk

22 February 2017

Dear Ms Macdonald,

Thank you for your email of 26 January 2017 requesting the following information:

“Please provide information on the number of allegations of abuse – including physical, emotional and sexual abuse – made by (or on behalf of) children and young people under the age of 18 years at the time the allegation was made, who were serving in military cadet forces in Scotland in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

This information should not include allegations of non-recent abuse (also known as historic abuse) made in each of those years. Historic abuse is defined as an allegation of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse made by or on behalf of someone who is 18 years of over, related to an alleged incident which took place when the alleged victim was under 18 years old.

Where it is available (and without disclosing personal data), please disaggregate data on the number of allegations made against 1) military staff, 2) adult volunteers and 3) cadets.”

I am treating your correspondence as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000.

A review of our data holdings has been completed, and I can confirm that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) holds information within the scope of your request; this is provided overleaf.

In accordance with the Data Protection Act and our obligations in relation to the protection of confidentiality when handling personal data, disclosure control has been applied to the the figures provided in this letter. Disclosure control is necessary when presenting any statistical or numeric information to safeguard the confidentiality of individuals, to protect commercially sensitive information, or where sharing the statistics may pose a threat to security.

The figures provided in this letter have been rounded to the nearest 10. When rounding, to prevent the systematic bias caused by always rounding numbers upwards, a value of ‘25’ would be rounded down to ‘20’ and a value of ‘15’ would be rounded up to ‘20’.
Additionally, totals and sub-totals are rounded separately and so may not equal the sums of their rounded parts.

Further information about MOD disclosure control is available at this link:

https://www.gov.uk/…/attachment_data/file/561507/MOD_Statist ics_-_Disclosure_Control_and_Rounding_Policy-amd.pdf

The MOD takes allegations of abuse seriously, and there is a stringent policy in place for when an accusation is made. Regarding allegations of abuse made by (or on behalf of) children and young people under the age of 18 years at the time the allegation was made, who were members of the cadet organisations in Scotland, the MOD has recorded 30 allegations in 2014 and 20 allegations in 2015.

For the number of allegations made during 2014 and 2015 against military staff, adult volunteers and cadets in Scotland, the MOD records indicate there were fewer than 5 allegations made against military staff, 20 allegations made against adult volunteers and 40 allegations made against cadets.

Please be advised that the Royal Navy does not hold any information within the scope of your request, so the figures above do not include the Sea Cadet Corps. However, under Section 16 of the FOI Act (Advice and Assistance) I can advise that you may wish to contact the Marine Society & Sea Cadets (the charity which runs the Sea Cadet Corps) to see whether they hold any related information. Please use the following link:

http://www.ms-sc.org/get-in-touch

You may wish to be aware that total number of cadets in the UK is 128,550. The total number of cadets is published annually and the data as at 1 Apr 16 can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/…/system/…/attachment_data/file/526131/MO D_sponsored_cadet_forces__statistics_2016.pdf.

If you are not satisfied with this response or you wish to complain about any aspect of the handling of your request, then you should contact me in the first instance. If informal resolution is not possible and you are still dissatisfied then you may apply for an independent internal review by contacting the Information Rights Compliance Team, Ground Floor, Zone D, MOD Main Building, Whitehall, SW1A 2HB (e-mail CIO-FOI-IR@mod.uk). Please note that any request for an internal review must be made within 40 working days of the date on which the attempt to reach informal resolution has come to an end.

If you remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you may take your complaint to the Information Commissioner under the provisions of Section 50 of the FOI Act. Please note that the Information Commissioner will not investigate your case until the MOD internal review process has been completed. Further details of the role and powers of the Information Commissioner can be found on the Commissioner’s website,

http://www.ico.org.uk.

Yours sincerely,

Defence People Secretariat FOI’

https://www.theguardian.com/…/ministry-of-defence-pays-out-…

https://www.facebook.com/805941286121301/photos/a.806379472744149.1073741828.805941286121301/1187411877974238/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/805941286121301/photos/a.806379472744149.1073741828.805941286121301/1205698066145619/?type=3

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.

15/03/17

 

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Time to start talking about Welsh independence

March 16th, 2017

News from Welsh Branch of the Celtic League:

“Wood’s call for a conversation about Welsh nationhood is both necessary and timely. The fact is there is simply no national public discourse in Wales. Yes, we talk about language, history and culture, but we have yet to hold the existential conversation we need about our relationship to the rest of Britain, or what our political priorities are as a self-contained nation. Indeed, most Welsh people don’t even know which issues are uniquely relevant to their own country.”

In my heart, I long for Wales to leave the UK. While the economics doesn’t add up, we urgently need to follow Scotland in discussing our future as a nation
WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM
 
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Members of Irish Branch Celtic League attend Draig Werdd annual dinner

March 16th, 2017

News from Irish Branch of the Celtic League:

Bhí baill craobh na hÉireann an Chonradh Cheiltigh ag an dinnéar bliantiúil a d’eagraigh an Draig Werdd (Eagraíocht do Breatnaigh in Éirinn). Bain siad an sult as mar a fheiceann sibh sna ghrianghrafanna agus breise nascanna déanta lenár gcol cheathracha ceilteacha.

Members of the Irish Branch of the Celtic League attended the annual dinner of the Draig Werdd (an Organisation for the Welsh in Ireland). They enjoyed the evening as can be seen from the photos and extra links were created with our Celtic cousins.

#Éire #AnBhreatainBheag #AnConradhCeilteach #Ireland #Cymru #Wales#TheCelticLeague

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Conradh na Gaeilge win High Court challenge

March 3rd, 2017

“The Stormont Executive has failed in its legal duty to adopt an Irish language strategy, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.

Mr Justice Maguire held the administration to be in breach of a requirement imposed under decade-old legislation.

The challenge was mounted by Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge.
The body issued judicial review proceedings over a failure to comply with a St Andrews Agreement pledge.

Mr Justice Maguire said: “It cannot have been the intention of Parliament that, after nearly 10 years from the coming into force of the Act in 2007, this obligation would remain unfulfilled.”

Full story at this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-39157612

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

03/03/17

 

The Stormont Executive has failed in its legal duty to adopt an Irish language…
 
BBC.CO.UK|BY BBC NEWS
 
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New Scottish magazine launch

March 3rd, 2017

The National have sent us a preview of tomorrow’s new magazine launched in conjunction with the independence supporting web site Bella Caledonia.

It’s an interesting development in that what was initially a social media blog has now gone main stream.

Other independence sites like ‘Wings over Scotland’ are also flourishing. Wings recently raised way above its fundraising target of £45,000 within hours of the appeal being launched.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

03/03/17

 

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Traveller community given ethnic minority status

March 2nd, 2017

“The formal recognition of Irish Travellers as an indigenous ethnic minority by the Republic of Ireland has been hailed as a “historic” day.

Members cheered and applauded in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Wednesday as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny made the announcement.

There was a standing ovation as he gave status to the “distinct ethnic group”.
He said the statement of recognition would go some way to ensuring they have a “better future with less negativity”.

‘Momentous’

The Dáil was told that a “large and unprecedented” crowd had gathered outside the building to witness the moment.

Irish President Michael D Higgins welcomed the move, describing it as “a momentous decision, formally recognising Travellers’ place in Irish society”.

He congratulated Travellers’ organisations on their campaign.

“I have no doubt that today’s clarification will be of assistance in interpreting legislation in relation to Travellers’ rights, and ensuring respect for Travellers’ distinct identity within the fabric of Irish society,” the president added.”

Full story at this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39135942

It’s over a quarter of a century since the Celtic League criticised the attitude of the Irish government to the Traveller community in the pamphlet ‘Human Rights on the Celtic Fringe’.

Image: Standing ovation on the Dail as historic announcement is made,

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

02/03/17

 

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