Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Time of the Whales

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Whales are arriving earlier, staying longer and being seen in greater numbers of the South and East of Ireland according to this article from Irish Times Marine correspondent Lorna Siggins:

“Ireland’s whale-watching season has now extended from a one- to a “three-season” activity, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley has said.

Mr Whooley had “lost count” of the number of minke whales spotted off west Cork this week and had observed five to seven humpback whales on almost every trip in the past fortnight.

A pod of humpbacks that normally frequents west Kerry has been focusing on west Cork this month , while Boomerang, the humpack that has returned regularly to Irish waters since 2001, has been spotted this season off Helvick Head in Waterford.

Mr Whooley said a change in ocean activity in recent years had seen whales arriving here as early as April, as opposed to the autumn months.

“Mostly they are seen from five to six miles out, depending on the feeding grounds, but there is obviously some very good feeding here this week,” he said.
The number of minke whales in waters between Union Hall in west Cork and Galley Head was “exceptional”, he said.”

Full article at this link:

https://www.irishtimes.com/…/exceptional-numbers-of-whales-…

BERNARD MOFFATT

pp Celtic League.

08/07/17

 

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Alba: Misneachd protest as Gaelic ‘airbrushed’ from history

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

News from Mannin Branch of the Celtic League:

Christopher Lewin has this report about a recent protest by the Scottish group Misneachd at the National Museum of Scotland:

“I was present at a protest outside the National Museum of Scotland last month concerning the lack of Gaelic in a new exhibition about the Jacobites.

The demonstration was organised by the group Misneachd, which is an offshoot of the Irish organisation which was the topic of my last article.

More than sixty people took part in the march to the museum, including well-known professors and lecturers and parents and children from the Gaelic-medium primary school in Edinburgh. They sang Jacobite songs in Gaelic.

The museum said that the exhibition ’Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites’ is not bilingual because they are telling a ’European’ narrative, rather than a story that concerns Gaelic.

We were certainly not impressed by this excuse.”

Link to full article in Manx and English here:

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

BERNARD MOFFATT

07/07/17

 

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BBC expose cadet forces issue we focused on two years ago

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

The BBC Panorama programme has highlighted issues surrounding abuse in the cadet forces in the United Kingdom:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40457123

This is an issue the Celtic League focused on two years ago. At the time when we wrote the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Children’s Commissioners in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, the MOD and other agencies expressing concerns.

One of the most positive responses was from the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland (via Enquiries Office Linda Ellis MacDonald) who carried out exhaustive enquiries on the issue.

There is a plethora of exchanges on this at our main site:

https://www.celticleague.net/

Just type – cadet – into the search box top left.

Related links:

https://www.celticleague.net/…/league-notify-uncrc-about-m…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/league-welfare-concerns-vin…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/extremely-positive-response…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/home-office-respond-on-cade…/

BERNARD MOFFATT

pp Celtic League.

05/07/17

 

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Seafarer abuse continues

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Disturbing story here about the treatment of migrant fishermen on Irish vessels from Lorna Siggins, Marine correspondent of the Irish Times:

https://www.irishtimes.com/…/44-of-filipino-and-egyptian-cr…

The ratio of abuse and injury is truly shocking and all the more so given that following earlier exposure of problems the Irish government promised action

The issue is not just germane to Ireland. Two years ago Celtic League cooperated with New York Times journalist Ian Urbina who was writing a series of articles entitled ‘the Outlaw Ocean’. At the time we wrote to the ILO, IMO and EU governments urging tha more was done to protect migrants working as fishermen and mariners. We highlighted deaths on both Irish and British registered vessels. However it seems that little has changed.

Related links:

https://www.celticleague.net/…/outlaw-ocean-murder-video-h…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/imo-urged-to-investigate-th…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/ireland-fisheries-minister-…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/eu-pressed-on-exploitation-…/
https://www.celticleague.net/…/minister-pressed-on-migrant…/

BERNARD MOFFATT

05/07/17

 

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‘Shy’ mining multi-national targeted by League

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

‘Project suspended but League still wants answers’

Celtic League Manx branch environmental officer Allen Moore is ‘ploughing on’ with his quest for answers about Variscan mining plans in Brittany. An email to the Company elicited no response so it has been followed up with correspondence to both the Company and the French Embassy in London (see below).

What can be prompting such reticence from the Company recently the target of direct action by environmental activists? Perhaps they are busy ‘underground’.

We will of course update you when Variscan’s PR ‘shy’ department emerge from the mineshaft!

“There have been a lot of concerns in Brittany about the plans by the Australian mining company Variscan to explore for gold and other metals in the centre of Brittany. Variscan’s website does not answer concerns about the pollution which might occur during the mining and processing of the gold. In other regions of the world this has involved very toxic chemicals such as cyanide, arsenic and mercury.

The Variscan website offers a “Contact us” facility, which I have used, without the courtesy of a reply. I have also tried emailing the address given for their Orleans office, the HQ of Variscan’s operation in the French State, also without reply, so today I have written to that office and await their reply with interest. It surely helps to communicate with concerned organisations rather than maintain a cloak of secrecy?

The text of the letter follows:

Variscan Mines SAS,
10 rue Leonard de Vinci – CS 40053 – 45077 Orleans cedex 2, France

I have previously tried to contact you by emailing the contact details on your website, both by using the ordinary Contact facility and by using your Orleans email address. I did not receive a reply from either email. However, we are interested in finding answers to our queries as we believe that it is better to be informed of the facts rather than just speculate. The original emailed queries were as follows:

The Celtic League is an accredited NGO with roster consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Celtic League campaigns on a wide range of issues concerning the six Celtic countries (Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man and Scotland), including the environment.

As the Environmental Officer of the Celtic League Mannin (Isle of Man) Branch I was interested to read about your exploration work for gold and other metals in Brittany. In the event of finding gold in quantities which can be extracted, how would your company protect the environment around the mining and processing sites? I know that a number of toxic materials have been used in the processing of gold, such as arsenic, cyanide and mercury. Does your company use these chemicals? Have you developed fail safe methods to use them without them escaping into the environment? I have read that gold only occurs in very small concentrations even when it is mined. How would your company deal with the waste rock brought to the surface during the mining?

Thank you,

Allen Moore,
Environmental Officer,
Celtic League,
Mannin Branch

Copy to the French High Commission, 58 Knightsbridge, London”

Its important to highlight at this point the new Macron government seems to have ‘suspended’ the mining permits which is very much a initial victory for oppoenents however the objective should be a complete termination of these projects will bring little benefit and good cause real environmental damage for the majority. Link here to suspension announcement:

http://www.bretagne-info.org/…/suspension-des-projets-mini…/

Related links:

https://www.facebook.com/805941286121301/photos/a.806379472744149.1073741828.805941286121301/1347317785316979/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1337092809672810&id=805941286121301

https://www.facebook.com/805941286121301/photos/a.806379472744149.1073741828.805941286121301/1336169859765105/?type=3

Image: Anti-minng protest Breizh

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

29/06/17

 

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Relatives still seek answers over mystery Irish Sea air crash

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Manx Radio carried the interview with Cork man Jerome McCormick today. Jerome who lost a brother in one of the worst airline disasters over the Irish Sea in 1968 had come to the Isle of Man to thank the Celtic League for our support over several decades up to the commissioning of the most recent enquiry:

http://www.manxradio.com/…/league-thanked-in-search-for-ae…/

Following the enquiry we closed our (by that time copious) files on the affair. Of course questions still remained unanswered but short of some unforeseen breakthrough those questions will be unresolved. For Jerome and other relatives close to the event it is however too painful a hurt to put aside.

Over the years many hitherto unpublicised details did come to light and whilst the focus was on possible military involvement given the area where the crash occurred other possibilities such as catastrophic system failure were not ruled out.

The passage of time plus the demise of the Cold War ensured that hitherto unreleased information was forthcoming and our dealings with Department of Government in Ireland and London plus the Ministry of Defence were mostly positive.

We were grateful when the (then) Irish Transport Minister Nora Owen TD agreed to the most recent comprehensive enquiry and whilst that still left ambiguities it was thorough.

The relatives grief and the spectre of military involvement was however compounded in the original 1969 enquiry just months after the crash and those conclusions are difficult to air-brush from history.

Links to the enquiry report can be found in this earlier Facebook post we put out (link):

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1359541160761308&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

The full interview with Jerome is available at Manx Radio ON DEMAND Mandate 28th June (second part of the programme) and will be available for seven days.

Celtic League still undertakes military monitoring but the Aer Lingus EI-712 issue is not an active one.

Image: Aer Lingus early variant Vickers Viscount airliner similar to EI-712 ‘St Phelim’ – the Viscount had an overall exceptionally good safety record in service.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

28/06/17

 

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Western Sahara: International shipping industry warned over theft of resources

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

International shipping companies have been warned that ships being used to plunder resources from Western Sahara will be seized and legal means used to procure compensation for cargoes taken from the disputed territory.

The move comes just days after a Manx (Isle of Man) based company said it would stop using its vessels to carry phosphates from the country (link):

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1371071329608291&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

The new warning has been carried on the Western Sahara Resource Watch website and it highlights court proceedings already underway:

http://www.wsrw.org/a105x3934

Large parts of Western Sahara have been occupied illegally by Morocco and until now it has been assumed that secretive entities using shell companies and shipping registers in offshore tax dodging centres like the Isle of Man could exploit the resources of the territory on behalf of Morocco. Meanwhile many of the people of West Sahara live in abject poverty in refugee camps in neighbouring Algeria. Refugee camps first established in West Sahara were bombed by the Moroccan Air Force.

It’s clear now however that such activity will if continued cost these companies dearly.

As for the Isle of Man government which has made commendable efforts to support relief work in other parts of Africa it has stayed strangely silent about Manx involvement in the exploitation of West Sahara.

Related link Western Sahara Resource Watch main site:

http://www.wsrw.org/

Image: SPLA fighters who wish to rid their homeland of Moroccan occupation. Now the battle is also being fought in courts globally.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

28/06/17

 

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Migrant rescue operation in full swing

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Rescue operations involving the Irish Naval Service and other EU countries are in full swing in the Mediterranean. The Department of Defence in Ireland issued this statement a few days ago:

“Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, T.D., has confirmed that L.É. Eithne is currently involved in a rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

The Minister stated that “the Government approved the return of the Naval Service to the Mediterranean to assist the Italian authorities in tackling this very difficult humanitarian crisis.”

The Minister confirmed that “L.É. Eithne was tasked by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) to come to the assistance of vessels in distress and have so far rescued persons from 3 vessels”.

The Minister went on to say that “The operation is currently ongoing. Latest reports from L.É. Eithne are that they have rescued 346 people and 85 persons have been transferred onto L.É. Eithne from another rescue vessel. Currently there are approximately 431 persons on board L.É. Eithne, which is currently tasked to come to the assistance of further two vessels in distress. I would like to thank the crew of L.É. Eithne, under the command of her captain, Commander Brian Fitzgerald, for their outstanding work in the Mediterranean today and to wish them well in their ongoing and difficult work on this current operation.”

Irish participation in the humanitarian mission in 2015 and 2016 resulted in the rescue of over 15,600 migrants, which clearly demonstrates the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.

L.É. Eithne will remain in the Mediterranean until mid July at which point she will be replaced by another Naval Service vessel.”

Image: L.É. Eithne engaged on a rescue operation in 2015 – this is the third year the vessel has been involved in the humanitarian effort.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

28/06/17

 

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Late SNP leader had Manx education link

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

No comment yet (that I’ve see or heard) from the Manx media on the death of former SNP leader Gordon Wilson.

Wilson architect of the modern SNP and thereby its future success was apparently a product of the Manx secondary education system.

A report here in the National (Scotland):

“GORDON Wilson, who has died aged 79, was one of the giants of the SNP.
As leader of the party from 1979 until 1990, he was one of the masterminds who led the parliamentary breakthrough of the 1970s and helped drive the SNP from the fringe to the mainstream of Scottish politics.

Armed with considerable campaigning, political and administrative acumen, he built the SNP into a major political force – although his tenure as party leader was not without controversy.

Born in Govan on April 16, 1938, Robert Gordon Wilson steered the party through turbulent times.

The son of Elizabeth Murray and Robert George Wilson, a butcher’s van driver, Wilson was educated at Douglas High School for Boys, on the Isle of Man, then at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied law. He qualified as a solicitor and worked in Paisley from 1963 until 1974”

Full link:

http://www.thenational.scot/…/15370168.Obituary__Gordon_Wi…/

Image: Gordon Wilson 1938 -2017

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

26/06/17

 

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Shipping firm embarrassed into ending Sahara phosphate trade

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

“The biggest poverty that exists in the world is to lose your territory; we are not in our land and others are taking advantage of our wealth,” (Mahmoud Dellal)

Crown Dependency News has this disturbing news story about the decision of a Manx based shipping company to suspend its operations shipping phosphate from Western Sahara. CDN says:

“LT Ugland shipping group of the Isle of Man announced that it will end its involvement in the trade of the phosphate rock of Western Sahara, illegally occupied by Morocco, according to the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW).

The company LT Ugland, dependent on the United Kingdom, decided to end all its commercial activities relating to the phosphate of the occupied territories of Western Sahara. It was part of a list of “carriers of conflict,” recently published by WSRW on the companies involved in the illegal trade of Sahrawi resources.

On June 20, Lars T. Ugland, head of LT Ugland told the Norwegian economic newspaper Finansavisen that he will submit to the decision of the Court of the European Union, and “exclude Western Sahara from the zones of its activities, until the Sahrawi conflict is settled,” according to WSRW.

Last year WSRW underlined that the ship of the society Molly Manx carried about 54,000 tons of phosphate on behalf of New Zealand’s innovative fertilizer company Ravensdown. (SPS)”.

The interesting thing here is that the termination of this trade comes about because of adverse publicity caused by the WSRW revelations.

It proves that decades on from trading with Apartheid South Africa and the racist Rhodesian regime the Isle of Man is still engaged in exploitation in Africa. More recent scandals have included links to arms trading in Rwanda and South Sudan and the exploitation of minerals in the Congo.

The Isle of Man offers piece-meal aid through the front door while we continue to provide a base for international multinationals to steal from Africa via the back door!

Lets be clear the exploitation of these valuable deposits of phosphates is illegal Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara is not recognised by the United Nations.

While western countries get rich on this trade many of the occupants of the Moroccan occupied territory are displaced and live in poverty in refugee camps.

Of course there is no mention of this sleazy business in the Manx media! Its time the Manx government kept a closer eye on its shipping register.

Links:

http://www.spsrasd.info/news/…/articles/2017/06/23/9385.html

https://www.scribd.com/…/3514377…/Carriers-Of-Conflict-2017…

Image: These Sahawri children at a refugee camp at Tindouf in Algeria face a bleak future as the West exploits their country

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

24/06/17

 

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