‘Atlantic’ documentary brought the global assault on fisheries into Ireland’s sitting rooms

December 10th, 2016

There was a massive reaction in Ireland to the documentary ‘Atlantic’ shown on RTE last night. It chronicled the struggle of fishing communities around Ireland and farther afield to survive in the face of industrial fishing by super-trawlers.

Celtic League have been publicising for sometime now the carnage that is being wreaked on the marine environment around our shores and globally by these massive factory ships that Greenpeace term ‘Monster Boats’ which can process several hundred tonnes daily and fish for weeks.

We highlighted the Irish documentary some months ago when the film maker, Risteard Ó Domhnaill, was giving preliminary showings of the film to audiences at fishing ports in Ireland

Ironically as it was being shown in May in Donegal we were also plotting the fishing pattern of a large monster boat (the 8000 tonne Jan Maria) off the N E of Donegal – the report of our post is here:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1018678381514256&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

It’s not just Ireland local fishing communities from West Africa, the Pacific and Indian Ocean are all under threat. We have chronicled the struggle for survival of fish market sellers in Senegal and the fight of a small Pacific nation against the might of pirate fishermen from the world’s largest country China.

From the Arctic to Antarctic from Australia to Ireland small fishing communities and the people who depend on them face a threat to their livelihood in some instances their existence.

It’s not just the resources that are being exploited it’s also those who work on the vessels many of which fish illegally. Earlier this year we highlighted the New York Times ‘Outlaw Ocean’ series which chronicles those abuses at sea. Ian Urbina the journalist who compiled the articles says he hopes to do follow up stories next year.

Meanwhile the broadcast by RTE of Atlantic has brought the issue into sitting rooms across Ireland and as the documentary is sure to be picked up and broadcast by other countries it will hopefully awaken the world to the eco disaster facing our oceans by industrial fishing.

Here are some links with reaction to the programme if you want additional comment from a Celtic League perspective just go to our Main internet site or the Mannin branch Facebook site and type ‘trawler’ into the search box:

https://www.joe.ie/…/there-was-a-massive-reaction-to…/570150

http://www.highlandradio.com/…/broadcasting-of-atlantic-do…/

Image: Super trawler the net size is unimaginable capable of enclosing 13 jumbo jets these boats can haul more fish in one trip then a small fishing community can catch in a year.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

09/12/16

 

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Extremely positive response from Scottish child commissioner over cadet forces abuse issue

December 7th, 2016

We wrote recently to all the Children’s Commissioners in Scotland Wales and N. Ireland about money paid by the MOD to ‘hush up’ abuse allegations in the Military Cadet Forces (link):

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1166469213401838&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

We have had a very prompt and positive response which shows that the Commissioner in Scotland, Tam Baillie, is actively engaged on these issues and the broader agenda of involvement of under 18s in Cadet Forces.

In addition to the reply set out below, from Enquiries Officer Linda Ellis Macdonald additional correspondence was received outlining the exchange between the Commissioner and MOD in 2015 relating to the UNCRC Optional protocol and recruitment. This correspondence is not included with this post:

“Dear Mr Moffatt,

Thank you for your letter of 3 December to the Commissioner, following up your January 2015 letter in which you noted your concerns about physical and sexual abuse in UK military cadet forces. I have attached copies of our letter to the MOD and their response, for your information.

In regard to the question and request for information in your most recent letter:

1. Can I ask if you have taken any steps to monitor child safety in the military cadet forces and ascertain if any abuse has taken place in your area of jurisdiction?
The Commissioner has not taken any action to monitor child safety in military cadet forces in Scotland.

2. I do look forward to hearing what steps if any you have taken to investigate this matter.
The Commissioner has not undertaken any investigation of child safety in military cadet forces in Scotland.

The Commissioner has recently focused his attention on calling for a ban on the recruitment of under-18s to the military, as reflected in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which says that:

Noting that article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that, for the purposes of that Convention, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier,
Convinced that an optional protocol to the Convention that raises the age of possible recruitment of persons into armed forces and their participation in hostilities will contribute effectively to the implementation of the principle that the best interests of the child are to be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children,

(http://www.ohchr.org/…/ProfessionalInter…/Pages/OPACCRC.aspx )

This was also noted in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations, calling for the UK Government to ‘consider reviewing its position and raise the minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces to 18 years in order to promote the protection of children through an overall higher legal standard; Reconsider its active policy of recruitment of children into the armed forces and ensure that recruitment practices do not actively target persons under the age of 18 and ensure that military recruiters’ access to school be strictly limited; In recruiting persons under the age of 18, strengthen its safeguards required by article 3 of the Optional Protocol, in order to ensure that the recruitment is genuinely voluntary and based on fully informed consent of the recruit and their parents and legal guardians, and ensure that recruitment does not have a discriminatory impact on children of ethnic minorities and low-income families; Ensure that the minimum period of service applied to children who enlist into the army is no longer than that applied to adult recruits’.

However, we will be submitting an FOI to the Ministry of Defence asking for information on the number of allegations over the past two years of physical, psychological and sexual abuse made by members of the armed forces in Scotland (to include cadet forces) and of those cases, how many pertain to children under the age of 18 at the time the allegation was made. I will be in touch when we have received a response.

Thank you for bringing this matter to the Commissioner’s attention. We would be pleased to receive any information or guidance you may think the Commissioner would find helpful.

Best regards,
Linda

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

Celtic League is grateful to the CYPCS for this expeditious reply.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.

07/12/16

 

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CPT asked to look at Manx death in custody

December 6th, 2016

News from Mannin Branch Celtic League:

The Celtic League has written to the Council of Europe CPT following a death in custody which occurred in the Isle of Man:

“Mr Hugh Chetwynd
Head of Division
CPT Secretariat
Council of Europe
F67075 Strasbourg Cedex
FRANCE

6th December 2016

Dear Sir,

I refer you the attached news cuttings concerning a death in custody of a man detained by police in the Isle of Man arrest (links):

http://www.iomtoday.co.im/…/police-review-procedures-follow…

http://www.manxradio.com/…/gross-failures-by-police-result…/

You will note from the reports that the death occurred whilst the man was detained at the Island’s hospital under Police observation.

I know that CPT and indeed other bodies such as the ICRC take very seriously any deaths in custody and highlight the need for investigations to be thorough and independent. I am mindful of a recent CPT State report in which this issue was highlighted.

I do hope that on its next periodic visit to the ‘UNITED KINGDOM – ISLE OF MAN’ the CPT will enquire into adequacy of systems in place at the time of this death and any steps taken thereafter to address deficiencies indentified.

The foreword to the ICRC guidelines for investigating deaths in custody says:

“When people are deprived of their liberty, responsibility for their fate rests mainly with the detaining authorities, who must guarantee the life and physical integrity of each detainee. Therefore, when someone dies in custody, it is only fitting that an independent investigation be conducted – regardless of the presumed cause of death, which may be natural or accidental, but which may also have been an instance of unlawful killing or the result of ill treatment or inadequate conditions of detention. A prompt, impartial and effective investigation is essential for ascertaining the cause of death, for preventing similar incidents in the future and ensuring the security of other prisoners, for informing the next of kin and for reassuring the public of the authorities’ commitment to fulfilling their national and international obligations. An investigation of this sort is also a prerequisite for conducting any civil and/or criminal proceedings that may be appropriate. International humanitarian law and international human rights law provide for the obligation”.

I trust that the CPT will also enquire into the systems that the Isle of Man government have in place for the ‘independent investigation’ of deaths in custody and if these are fit for purpose.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
pp Celtic League”

Related link:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1160396237342469&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

Image: CPT building Strasbourg

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League.

06/12/16

 

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Cricket spin off from Irish Humanitarian Aid

December 6th, 2016

There is an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Myanmar (Burma) caused by persecution of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.

The world is starting to awaken to their plight but in an increasingly xenophobic world few countries are willing to open their borders and accommodate refugees.

However as this UNHCR report explains one country that gave an early welcome to some of those cruelly displaced from their homes is Ireland and it seems there has been an unlikely sporting spin off – cricket!

Link:

http://www.unhcr.org/…/rohingya-refugees-lead-unlikely-cric…

Ireland already pulls well above its weight internationally in aid and support efforts.

Its troops serve, and some sadly have died, on UN Peacekeeping missions globally. It recently increased its presence in Lebanon as we reported.

Its naval service has been employed now for two years assisting migrants in difficulty in the Mediterranean – men women children – even new born babies – have been saved by their efforts which continue.

Additionally many hundreds of Irish civilians work on aid and relief efforts globally.

As the UN report shows people who come as refugees fleeing conflict want to contribute and integrate. As 15 year old Robi Alam, who had to flee his homeland and then was resettled from a refugee camp in Bangladesh to Carlow in Ireland, where he now plays for the cricket team, says:

“I hope to one day play in the Ireland national cricket team,” says Alam. “That way I will be able to show that you can go from a squalid camp to the highest national podium.”

Image: Wearing the Bangladesh cricket shirt, a young girl runs for the line in the hopes of scoring a point at the Carlow Cricket Club

Related links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Aid
http://www.unhcr.org/

The Celtic League is an accredited NGO (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and we support the UN effort to improve the lot of displaced people globally

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League

05/12/16

 

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The British Army and its ‘Paper Soldiers’

December 6th, 2016

News from Mannin Branch Celtic League:

Nationalists were pretty scathing just over a year ago when the decision was taken to establish a British military presence on the Island via a military reserve force. Both Mec Vannin and the Celtic League campaigned for years to get them out of the Isle of Man so you could be bleeding sure we wouldn’t welcome them back!

Still others including the Manx government and the media were positively in raptures over the plan. Manx Radio was doing a ‘Vera Lynn’ routine daily as the ‘war toys’ display took shape on Douglas promenade.

Periodically there after there were updates but then silence. Like the Ninth Roman Legion the Reserves just disappeared!

We thought we would check how the MODs – so called FR2020 – plan was going.

Even when Manx Radio was blasting out ‘there’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover’ the plan was in trouble. A year earlier in 2014 the Army which had committed itself to increasing the Reserves to 30,000 to counter-balance a decrease in 20,000 in the regular forces was running well behind. The annual run rate target was around 2,200 (+11,000 / 5 years). But in that the size of the Reserve had increased just fractionally. At that (2014) rate the Army would miss its target of adding 11,000 reservists by 2018 by about 535 years (that’s not a typo)!

This led the Army to increase the upper age limit for certain recruits from 45 to 50 and other inducements including enhanced allowances.

It didn’t seem to work however as in June 2015 just a month after the much trailed launch of the campaign here the BBC was reporting the FR2020 plan as unachievable (link):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33279565

Then earlier this year a ‘whistleblower’ revealed that ‘only one in ten were turning up for duty’

This report in the Daily Express said;

‘Over half those who do attend fail their medicals and others cannot even assemble a rifle.

‘Senior sources said many units are padded out with “paper soldiers” who are on the books and get paid but never turn up, and that this was a ploy to satisfy the Government drive to have 30,000 reservists by 2018.

‘One senior military source said one particular unit with 100 reservists on its books was regularly only able to field six men for vital military manoeuvres, with the willing half-dozen having to act out the parts of both the British forces and the enemy.

‘He said its commanders have been told not to process requests by reservists wishing to leave, meaning they continue to be paid even when they do not attend.

‘Another source, this time with the Royal Yeomanry, a light cavalry reservist unit, revealed its commanders were also ignoring bi-annual number checks and stretching them out for a year, allowing reservists who quit to be kept on the books for an extra six months.

‘Even so its recruitment figures are 40 per cent down, from more than 200 to 90, across its bases in London, Croydon, Windsor, Nottingham, Leicester, Dudley and Telford.

‘Describing his reservist unit in the south of England, a senior source said: “We have what we call paper soldiers that are officially accounted for but never attend.’

Full link here:

http://www.express.co.uk/…/British-armed-forces-military-re…

So it’s going well then!

Here’s some music to cheer the Colonel Blimps in our midst up – maybe Manx radio could add it to there play list:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_f5NbPOOGE

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

05/12/16

 

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North Dakota Access Pipeline – Victory for Native American community

December 6th, 2016

We recently reported on the shocking level of violence and intimidation used against the Native American community in North Dakota. Protesters from some 200 Native American nations have been objecting to the construction of a huge new oil pipeline which passes over the Missouri River less than a mile upstream from a “reservation” belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Tribal lands that contain relics have been disturbed with the destruction of graves and sacred sites while construction of the pipeline has been undertaken.

For months objectors have protested over their fears that the pipeline would contaminate their water source and continue to destroy sacred sites. Their fight has become a rallying cry for indigenous rights and climate change activists. Protesters have faced an army of local and state police working in cooperation with private security contractors. Alarming levels of violence has been used against the opponents of the pipeline, including the use of rubber bullets, attack dogs, tear gas, compression grenades and mace. However, the protests continued and last weekend hundreds of military veterans arrived at the camps in a show of support for the movement.

Now the United States Army Corps of Engineers has officially announced that it will withhold its approval for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River. This is a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after their long campaign against the pipeline. Assistant secretary for civil works Jo-Ellen Darcy announced the decision on Sunday, and said in a statement that: “Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” the statement went on to say: “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II released a statement in which he said that: “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama administration for this historic decision.” On behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux he said: “We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.”

The tribe’s decision to fight back against the powerful oil industry captured international attention even though it received little coverage from major news outlets.

While the present victory is very significant others have advised caution at this stage in that the decision could be appealed. However, overturning it would be subject to close scrutiny by a reviewing court and campaigners have vowed that they we will be watching the new administration closely. While this battle is won the war isn’t over. It is though a remarkable victory. Protesters have shown their determination since the time in April that members of the tribe established the first “spiritual camp” on the banks of the Missouri river. They were joined by members of hundreds of other indigenous tribes answering their call for help. It has resulted in the largest gathering of Native American tribes in more than a century. This has been described as the beginning of something extraordinary in the fight against the erosion of indigenous sovereignty rights.”

We highlighted the struggle recently and drew parallels with the unsuccessful Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1152333184815441&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

Submitted by Alastair Kneale on December 5, 2016

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National Library of Wales – Difficulties

December 6th, 2016

The National Library of Wales must work to address problems surrounding staff morale and funding according to a recent report.

Full story here from BBC Wales:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-38202831

The Library is the repository for a considerable number of files from the early years of the Celtic League including a sizeable deposit from the former (now deceased) General Secretary Alan Heusaff.

Other files relating to military monitoring are also held there however the majority of the files covering military monitoring, civil liberties and environmental matters are lodged with the Manx Museum Library in the Isle of Man.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

05/12/16

 

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Scotland: Gaelic learners association to dissolve

December 6th, 2016

In a short statement the Gaelic learners’ association Clì Gàidhlig says it is to fold. The statement reads:

At the group’s annual meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday 12th November, members voted to support a special resolution to dissolve Clì.

“It is with sadness that the management committee have made this recommendation to members, because of the lack of finance arising from Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s decisions to withhold funding from us.

“I would like to thank those who worked for Clì over the years, and those who were members. They did so much for the cause of Gaelic and Gaelic learners.”

Rachel Alcorn,

Clì chair”

Link: http://www.cli.org.uk/

It is unclear why funding was not forthcoming it may be to do with the more austere times we live in if so it’s a worrying indicator of other Celtic language bodies which depend on funding from the various governments.

It is also a clear sign that National political and language bodies need to work closely to ensure our national languages and culture are protected.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

05/12/16

 

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Shall we just take Boot’s word that all is well

December 6th, 2016

News from Mannin Branch Celtic League:

‘The environment is a resource that belongs to us all not just a commodity to be managed by government and fishing interests’

It is not just in Mann that there is concern about the damage being wrought on the seabed and the marine environment.

Protesters have demonstrated in Aberystwyth about scallop fishing in the Cardigan Bay area.

The protesters are sending a clear message that the environment is a resource that belongs to us all not just a commodity to be managed by government and fishing interests (link):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-38188097

It’s past time that people in Mann also woke up to the fact that because we can’t look seawards and see the damage inflicted on our offshore fisheries its not happening.

DEFA say they are managing the fishing ground but where is the evidence. The sea areas concerned are comparatively shallow and certainly capable of a low cost visual impact survey.

NGOs and individuals should demand proof that no long term damage has occurred. Let’s face it elements of the media will not press the Minister to hand they seem more interested in discussing Caribbean holidays with him!

On the other hand we could just take DEFA assurances at face value…..

Image: The scallop – will it go the way of the Irish Sea herring overfished by external vessels 30 years ago.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

04/12/16

 

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Killers for the British State

December 6th, 2016

Extra judicial killings or the operation of murder gangs is something that happened in far away countries with tyrannical regimes…well not quite it happened just a few miles from our shores 30/40 years ago and at a time when a military base in Mann was used to support those operations.

Police in the North of Ireland recently exhumed the body of Daniel Rooney believed to have been killed in the early 1970s in N. Ireland by the British Army undercover military reaction force (MRF).

The issue of the MRF and other dirty dealings by the State all those years ago was highlighted by a very well researched BBC TV Panorama programme (link):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3uVX4W88M0

The activities of the MRF had a rumour a number of years. Long suspected the operations were confirmed following what’s now called the Flagstaff Hill incident when British Special Forces crossed the border and were apprehended by the Irish Police and Army (link):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagstaff_hill_incident

A diplomatic disaster at the time both governments contrived to bury the incident and it would be another four decades and a BBC Panorama programme before the dirty deeds of the MRF are once again in the spotlight.

Will the State killers of Daniel Rooney be finally brought to book…don’t hold your breath!

Image: Members of an MRF Killer gang pose for the camera as uniformed British troops look on.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

04/12/16

 

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