Anam Cara for TARA arts action Alert!
Action Deadline: 22 April, 2007This "Art Action ALERT!" is reaching out to every citizen of Ireland, no matter where you may be in the world at the moment.
I am sure among your friends and contacts you know quite a few graduates of the National University of Ireland (UCD, UCC, UCG, Maynooth, NCAD, the teacher and nursing training colleges, and a few others). As this is a postal ballot, graduates can vote no matter where in the world they live as long as they are registered. Many registered initially at their parents' address after they graduated, but have long since moved.
If any of these people changed their addresses on the electoral role their votes would be very helpful in the upcoming Irish Senate elections. To do so, all they need to do is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 22nd of April: with their name, year of graduation, degree, previous address of registration and current address, and their details will be changed in time to receive a ballot paper before the next election, which is expected in May or June, 2007.
Here is how the Irish Senate system works:
A General Election to Seanad Éireann (Irish Senate) must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann (the Irish government). Seanad Éireann is composed of 60 Members as follows:
11 nominated by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister)
43 elected by five panels representing vocational interests namely, Culture and Education, Agriculture, Labour, Industry and Commerce and Public Administration.
SIX (6) elected by the graduates of two universities: - three each by the National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin (Trinity College).
In theory, Seanad Éireann does not recognise party affiliations. However, as the electorate for the panels is made up of the Members of the incoming Dáil, the outgoing Seanad, county councils and county borough councils, the composition of Seanad Éireann, including the Taoiseach's nominees, will tend to reflect party strengths in Dáil Éireann.
The Constitution provides that not more than two Senators may be members of the Government and this provision has been exercised twice in the last 60 years.
Martin Hogan deserves the No. 1 vote.
Take a look for yourself. Read what Martin Hogan has to say on his website:
And, if you have a website, please link to his website too.
The more links to his site the more visibility he and the issues he is trying to highlight will have.
The following notes are taken from Martin Hogan's website:
A healthy environment is good for our community, business, and future generations. We have a duty of care to leave a world to our children and grandchildren that they can enjoy as we have enjoyed it.
There are many committed groups and individuals in Ireland and beyond dedicated to ensuring that at least some of the beauty of the world is preserved for our children.
On a national basis there are two issues which will have far reaching implications on Irish society depending on how the Government handles them. The first of these has focussed on the community of Rossport and the second is the Tara valley issue.
Ireland's Offshore Oil & Gas
The campaign of the Rossport community of West Mayo opposing the laying of a pipeline against their wishes and their desire to have the gas from the Corrib basin processed safely offshore has received much attention over the last two years.
This campaign captured the minds of the public when five local men served over 3 months in prison by refusing to commit to the court that they would stand idly by while an unsafe pipeline was laid near their homes and community. The handling of this campaign by the State highlights a number of disturbing issues. Primarily, that the concerns of the citizens of a village of this nation were completely ignored in an attempt by Shell and Statoil, backed by the Government, to bully a small community into submission.
The attitude seems to prevail on the part of many in the Government that Ireland is still some form of banana republic who should go cap in hand to any big company who wants to locate here and that any community or group who stands in the way of this must be dealt with harshly and quickly.
In many ways, Shell and Statoil (as the two largest shareholders in the Corrib basin consortium) have borne the brunt of a national campaign that has developed in support of the Rossport community. Although unquestionably heavy handed, Shell and Statoil acted in many ways as any oil companies would have done acting on the deal they were given.
The real blame for this mess lies with the Irish government. Between 1988 and 1992, Fianna Fáil ministers drew up a so called "deal" that gave oil companies the right to extract oil and gas from Irish territory without paying a single cent in royalties and, under a taxation incentive, that allows the companies to write off their entire production bill against tax liability. It is the most favourable deal ever negotiated for the oil and gas industry anywhere in the developed or developing world.
The Government has argued that this was done to ensure jobs and safeguard supplies, but there are only a handful of Irish jobs being created and the Government does not even have first option to buy our own gas, given away for free, at market value.
It was the resistance of the Rossport community that helped heighten awareness of this unbelievable give away that sees billions of Euro of gas (at a time of spiralling gas prices) go to foreign companies without any benefit to Ireland. It is particularly bitter as Statoil, which is 75% owned by the Norwegian people, contributed so much to the provision of the social and transport infrastructure of that country.
It is hard to believe that the terms of this "arrangement" are still in place, and the minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources gave away another massive gas field off the coast of Donegal as recently as last summer. This field holds billions of Euro worth of gas.
This situation has to be addressed, the concerns of the people of Rossport fully heard and the terms by which hydrocarbons are extracted from Irish territory renegotiated to give some revenue to the Irish state.
Hill of Tara
The Tara campaign is another example of incompetent government handling of an issue that simply would not have arisen in any of our western EU neighbours.
The Irish people are faced with the double frustration of having our most famous and significant historical site threatened while having the construction of a useful motorway further delayed.
Why was this situation allowed to occur in the first place? Despite the long delays and expense incurred as a result of challenges in the construction of motorways at Carrickmines and the Glen of the Downs, the government decided to route the M3 next to Tara knowing that the result would be a long and destructive legal battle for all concerned.
If the government adopted normal road building methodology first widely employed by the Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago in realising that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line I might understand their position. However, the proposed route for the M3 goes on a semicircular route from Dunshaughlin around the hill of Tara and back to follow a reasonably straight path again.
The question must be asked why is this? There are no large mountain ranges or Amazon type rivers in the Meath area that I am familiar with. Why when the M3 could be built 5 kms away form Tara, 3.5km shorter, over €50 million cheaper and with the possibility of linking Trim to the new road was this not done?
I wonder whose land the M3 passes through near Tara and who would receive large payments from the us taxpayers for purchasing this land?
Environmental campaigns such as these highlight the need to involve people in decisions that affect their lives and the need to move away from the government's bad planning in Ireland once and for all.
The issues facing both the Tara and Rossport campaigns are broadly similar in that they have to be expanded so that the public see them as directly affecting their lives and the lives of future generations rather than believing the spin and falsehoods that the Irish government constantly trot out about them.
We have until 22 April to contact all Irish graduates living abroad.
Please forward this "Art Action ALERT!" to all of your Irish networks.
Join the the Anam Cara for Tara "Arts Action" campaign!
Sigh the Petition! Write a Letter! Send an Email!
Make a donation! Plan an awareness or fund raising event and inform your networks!
All contact information is online here:
You'll find the petition link, Irish government and media addresses, a sample letter, plus templates for a downloadable poster, flyer, and an information handbill - and we will customize posters for anyone who wants to use them - without charge.
Anam Cara for Tara is an initiative of the Global Arts Collective:
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