Category Archives: human rights

Rossport Solidarity House – food garden

This estuary and the surrounding area is an EU-designated Special Conservation Area.  It’s also where Shell want to dig a tunnel and run a high pressure gas pipeline underwater to an inland gas refinery.  It’s a remote corner of the country but it’s been in the eye of a storm for the last few years pitting the local community and environmental and social justice activists against the interests of an oil multinational and the Irish government.  The gas is valued at 450Billion Euro and the Irish government refuses to re-negotiate the deal done with Shell.  Not only will the tax that Shell pay be one of the lowest in the world but they will also pay no royalty payments under the current terms.  Contract terms are sacred you see, unless you’re an Irish bank bondholder that is, in which case we’ll review contracts in case of any losses incurred. 


I got there late in the evening after some more night cycling through rural Mayo.   If you’re ever going cycling, Continue reading


Community Gardening in Cauca, Colombia-Linking alternatives

One of the aims of the project once I start to work in Colombia will be to make connections between civil society groups there and in Ireland.  Hopefully some community garden projects, slow food movements or transition Continue reading

Southill Community Garden, Limerick

Barbera Mulcahy is the gardener in resident in the Southill Resource Centre in Limerick.  The centre was set up in Southill as part of the area regeneration project.  The community has recurring social problems and the centre, which was a real hive of activity on Friday afternoon when I arrived and seems to have become a local community hub,   is a big part of the local effort to reverse some of the negative trends of the past. 

Plan of the garden on canvas-so it doesn't get damaged by the elements

 The community garden is part of this effort to get local people to re-engage with their community in a positive manner. 

When Barbera arrived at the centre in March of this year there were three raised beds and the resource was slightly under-used. 

Barbera in the polytunnel

  A FETAC horticulture course had been run with external help but there seemed to a p Continue reading

Mayfield Community Arts Centre Garden

The Mandala of Community Gardens (see previous post on CorkSimon gardens) project in Cork city coincided with the renovation of the arts centre in Mayfield.  A grant was provided by a private donor to develop the garden in to a space for the community as part of the renovations.  Local people were asked to participate in the design of the garden and workshops were held to bring peoples’ ideas together.  Eimer and Claire, two external members of the Mandala project, brought groups and volunteers to Mayfield to work on the garden including a group from the permaculture course in Kinsale and gradually the garden took shape.

Individual projects were also developed around the garden such as a willow sculpture class and a cob oven Continue reading

Simon Community Gardens-Cork City

Of Nature
Human beings
are not different from Nature.
We are part of Nature.
Our very existence on earth
depends on Nature.
In truth, it is not we who
protect Nature but Nature
that protects us
In 2004 as part of the preparations for Cork city’s tenure as European capital of culture, a project was initiated to develop community gardens around the city.  My host in Cork, Eoin Mc Cuirc, was involved in what became known as the Cork Mandala of Community Continue reading

Haiti & Food Sovereignty

This year’s earthquake drew people’s attention to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  The damage caused by the quake was made worse by the desperate living conditions of the majority of poor Haitians, poor building standards and the concentration of people in shanty towns in the capital Port-au-Prince.  But what lay behind this lack of development and dire poverty?  What made so many Haitians move from the countryside to the city?  The Haitian case is a prime example of many of the issues facing developing countries and the threats to their food sovereignty.

Those issues include farmers being undercut Continue reading

AFRI Hedge School

-Order 81 and the Destruction of Iraqi Food Sovereignty-

The Fertile Crescent is a region of the Middle East often called the cradle of civilisation.  It’s an area which comprises present day Palestin, israel, Syria and Iraq; it’s here that nomadic herders first settled to become the world’s first farmers. The crop varieties found in Iraq today are the result of 10,000 years of agricultural tradition during which time seeds have been saved and shared: replanting and cross-pollinating varieties has resulted in increased yields and better pest resistence.In the New Scientist in 2005, Fred Pierce spoke of a ‘genetic holy grail’ and the ‘ark of the lost seeds’ in reference to Iraq’s biodiversity and it’s importance for food security.
Clare O’Grady Walshe, former CEO of Greenpeace and current director of the Irish Seed Savers Association has just published a booklet documenting what Denis Haliday, (former UN assistant secretary general who resigned from his post of Head of the UN Humanitarian/Oil-For-Food Program in Iraq in 1998 protesting against the genocidal nature of the sanctions) has termed the ‘rape and pillage of food sovereignty’ by transnational corporations in Iraq. What she reveals is a story which may constitute the most insidious attack yet on the future welfare of the beleaguered Iraqi people.

–Listen to the Claire O’Grady Walshe interview (Oct 22nd) on Food Sovereignty, The Irish Famine and Order 81 on Pat Kenny here

What is Order 81?

Just before handing power over to the Iraqis in 2004, the US Proconsul L. Paul Bremer III, passed ‘100 Orders’ which made up the legal and institutional reforms ‘required’ to for Iraq’s transition to a free market economy.

Order 81 ‘Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, integrated circuits and plant variety’ amended Iraq’s existing patent law of Continue reading