Sunday, October 30, 2016

Well done PETA and Dutch Government: Holland to end Animal Testing and Thousands of Animals Spared!

I hope all is well with you. Thank you for your recent gift. Sometimes it's nice to let one's imagination travel to the future and see what a kinder world for animals might look like. Even more enjoyable is knowing that your support of PETA's work is helping to create that kinder future.

Picture this scenario: A political candidate is making campaign promises. You hear the usual tropes: "I promise to lower taxes. I promise to create jobs." You yawn because you've heard it all before, but then you hear this: "I promise to end all experiments on animals."

Lab Mouse
Does this sound like the opening of a futuristic novel? Well, in the Netherlands, it's actually happening—with the help of PETA and our international affiliates. It's true: The Dutch government is working to end all animal experimentation in the country by 2025, with the goal of using only humane, non-animal testing methods.

Staff members from PETA Netherlands and PETA U.K. were recently invited to The Hague to meet with officials about specific ways to replace animal experiments. Subsequently, our affiliates submitted an extensive dossier of information—prepared with the help of PETA's scientists in the U.S.—to guide the Dutch government's transition to non-animal testing.

PETA will do everything possible to use this momentum to move the U.S. and other countries closer to a day when cutting up, drugging, poisoning, shooting, burning, and electrocuting animals are relegated to the pages of history.

We're already making major strides toward this goal every day, like when we helped an overseas personal care product company push back against a government agency that ordered it to test its products on animals.

The owner contacted PETA after a regulatory agency said that it had to conduct skin and eye irritation and sensitization tests on animals. In these experiments, workers smear chemicals into the eyes or onto the skin of mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other animals, often causing painful swelling and burns.

With PETA's help, the company sent the government agency information about effective, reliable non-animal test methods and urged it to accept those results. The agency recently agreed, and at least 35 animals were saved from painful experiments.

In an even bigger victory, the lives of as many as 9,000 rats, mice, and rabbits have been spared because manufacturers opted not to test 19 ingredients in antiseptic washes that were the subject of a 2013 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rule. As a result, the agency found that these ingredients are not safe and effective and that products containing them can no longer be marketed.

The FDA made its decision after considering PETA's public comments on ways to avoid the tests, including first establishing whether the ingredients in liquid hand soaps, bar soaps, and body washes—which are often labeled "antibacterial" and intended for use with water—are really any more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection.

The agency had originally called for at least 25 animal tests on 22 ingredients, including for cancer and reproductive effects. The tests would have involved force-feeding the substances to rats, mice, and rabbits, or applying them to their skin, then killing and dissecting the animals and their babies.

With PETA's scientists hard at work, an end to animal experiments is in sight. And with caring supporters like you fueling our work, we're getting closer to that goal every day. Thank you so much for your loyalty, generosity, and compassion.

With kind regards,

Let's Put the Humane Party in Power next week and let's have one for Ireland too!


From The Ugly Truth website

 I could give a big long update on the horror of exporting animals to their certain death in countries where there are no welfare laws, like the ex racing greyhounds and how the government plans to prop up that failing and cruel industry with 63 million euro (with none of that going to retired dog rescues and in the face of all the other desperate areas of society that need that money).

We could talk about the fate of stray dogs, cats and horses that end up in our pounds. Or the suffering on Puppy Farms (dogs kept in boxes with hamster water systems and no light or movement. I quote from our very own puppy farmer in Carlow: ‘Dogs don’t need eyes to pump out puppies’. But I really want to talk about the vegan and rescue groups and the epic work that is already being done to protect animals.

This is the same system as the one exposed in Cavan last week, where bitches are kept in these boxes permanently. It was inspected 8 times this year by Dept vets who each time said it was perfectly satisfactory.

There is a UK-organized protest outside our Department of Agriculture on the 9th November that we should all get to as they have been the ones rescuing Irish Greyhounds literally off the runways in Manchester and other places they have been able to intercept on their way. 

Even with the huge increase in animal abuse and reporting of it, ARAN have discovered that there have only been 2 convictions of animal cruelty this year, 14 less than last year and twenty two less than the year before. On the successes front, Seaworld will no longer keep orcas and circuses are now advertising that their shows will no longer use animals!

Thankfully nearly everyone I know now is already rescuing animals, vegetarian or fully vegan and dedicating additional time to improving the bigger picture. However, the energy is hard. Everyone is upset and that is not the best way to effect social change. It is the way to despondency, an element of powerlessness and financial problems. This is because, with increased awareness, it becomes so obvious how the very opposite of what should be happening is happening. It comes to your attention that positive, compassionate or sustainable enterprises are thwarted on purpose and that large scale exploitation and violence are protected and facilitated.    

So I looked in my little book, Magic by Ronda Byrne and the first word that jumped out was ‘gratitude'!

How on earth can we think of anything to be grateful for when 200 elephants have their faces cut off every day, for their tusks, dolphins are rounded up and slaughtered by the hundreds and on our own shores people nail dogs’ paws to the ground and kick the crap out of them until they’re dead (and a multitude of other versions of that story) and our government is so corrupt it invests public money in the carcass collection, for food or removal.

But we have to come up with something! 

It is important to represent farm animals as well as all the others in trouble.
God knows, there were more than three and a half million chickens killed last year in Ireland. That is an awful lot of violent death, right there. Plus over a million pigs killed and more than 99% of pigs in Ireland are kept in crates, where they can move neither forwards nor back, for their whole lives and are mainly still tethered, even though it is illegal. This is stuff that many of us already know so I won't go on about it!

Suffice to say, I hardly think in terms of animal rights any more. I think in terms of human responsibility because we, as people, hold all the cards, the animals hold none. There is nothing the animals can do.

There are these truisms like ‘what you resist, persists’ and ‘ what you think about, comes about’ so it is really important to keep one’s focus on what is positive, so it is that that can be multiplied, by our attention to it! I know, deep down, that it is only through ‘gratitude’ that real change can be made, that is where the real magic happens, so I dug really deep and have thought of 5 things to be grateful for!

1. I am grateful for Ireland’s climate that is not too harsh and slightly protects the animals who are neglected in terms of housing and nutrition.
2. I am grateful for ARAN, the other animal rights, liberation, advocacy and awareness organizations and individuals.
3. I am grateful for all the shelters and charities and staff who respond to and care for the animals in crisis and who intervene on their behalf, in Ireland and abroad.
4. I am grateful for all the food producers who make vegan food and harmless products, that focus on making sure that there is no exploitation, no use of animal products or testing in their supply chain.
5. I am grateful for all the farmers that bother to grow organic crops and those people who make plant-based, but also totally balanced pet food.

This is my vision for Ireland, that it will be the first completely vegan, organic country. Everyone has a cow or two, a pig or two, a hen or two, a dog or two, a cat or two, a sheep or two and no one has to rescue five or ten or sixty and carry the burden of all the vet bills and the rehabilitation. A lot of people are stuck under a mountain of vet debt and too many animals in their care. The Carlow/Kilkenny Dog Pound are constantly full and have approximately 11 newcomers every day, one of the staff told me. PAWS have 75 kennels and provide care for more than 100. The Donegal Pound have handled 500 dogs and only 6 have been rehomed. The system is certainly not working.

 At the moment, all the animals are in the wrong hands. They are merely inventory for farmers, a production line in abbatoirs, or caged and bred or tested on, all for profit.

A lot of people have been trying to help animals in many different ways. For me, I was involved in a situation last year for the dog shelters. I put in a public tender to run the council dog pound and exposed by chance that, nation-wide, these massive amounts of public money to run shelters are going to animal collection services (as in they dispose of fallen animals, carcasses and were formally known as knackers lorries).  Literally, I received a letter from the Kilkenny County Council saying that the Animal Care Society from Cork had won the tender and we hadn’t. I wrote to the care society and said well done, that is brilliant and I can see you do Trojan work in rehoming and raising awareness of animal cruelty and neglect. Nonetheless, I live on the same road as the dog pound and I have a list of volunteers who would love to help too, if we can be of any help…Their response? We never even heard of the contract! The council had lied in writing and were going to give the 240,000 public contract to the carcass collection firm. Then it came to light that the Animal Collection Services were being given the contracts for shelters all around the country. They have had the horse pounds for several years and they get paid to collect the horses – 980 per horse, paid again to dispose of the carcasses. 

It is so important that we investigate what is going on within our own counties, under our noses, with our money and agreed by our public representatives. When I was able to get a national newspaper involved, they investigated the ACS further and discovered that the business is registered in Riga, Latvia, home of the biggest animal body parts factory in Europe.

So yes they get paid one more time when they sell our stray animals on to become fertilizer and dog meat…at which point we can then buy them back.

And yet I believe that most people are kind and most people are not oblivious to the needs of other creatures. Even it is basic like the five freedoms – food, water, shelter, freedom to display behaviour normal to their species and freedom from harm. I love, respect and encourage anyone who is finding a way forwards to look after people, animals or the environment better. Surely we have established that what is good for one is good for the other. 

I was inspired, as always, by ARAN’s John Carmody on the radio last year, talking about the gay marriage referendum. Nobody knew that so many people would go out to vote in favour of equality. The seed was planted in my mind that we need an animal referendum for Ireland. Actually ask every person where they stand on animal issues. 

So I set about formulating an animal referendum. I feel that if every person in Ireland was asked if they want Ireland to be the animal laboratory testing capital of Europe, they would say NO. If asked if they want an intensification of animal farming, they would say NO. Do we want to be the biggest puppy farmers, tolerate the captivity and cruelty to animals in entertainment and in sport, we would say NO and get a real change. 

There was an interesting survey done on where candidates stood on animal issues before the election which was very telling too. However, a further difficulty we have in Ireland and even at county level, is that the elected representatives do not have any decision making influence. As you can imagine, this creates difficulty for all public tenders - eg care homes, disability services and all social offerings. The qualified choice will not win a tender over a cheaper offer. This is how public services are ending up in the hands of private firms.

ARAN group finished their march on the steps of the courthouse in Cork. Symbolically, it is hoped that our presence might bring more justice around for those that need it.

Even then, legislation isn’t everything either. I recently heard that European companies were given 12 years to implement changes to their Chicken keep systems. They had to increase their cage size by 50 squ. cm. This is hardly anything and even at the end of the 12 years, 9 of the countries wrote and said sorry they weren’t going to manage it. Things are not happening fast enough.

I know that everyone is doing as much as they can, to move the situation forwards for animals. Spreading awareness and raising compassion is important but what I also have in mind is the occupation of every slaughterhouse, fur or puppy farm, laboratory, circus, racing stadium, government building, sea shore. This could be just a few people there every day, with banners, to bear witness to the suffering and raise awareness of what’s going on inside. Until they all CLOSE DOWN. If at all possible, think about what you see on social media and take just one action that reports something to someone who can change it.

I gather that the current Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed respects animals even less than Simon Coveney his predecessor does, although I can't imagine how that is even possible. Nonetheless, keep writing to him, his office and copying your messages to Clare Daly TD and Maureen O'Sullivan TD and any others up there who can use the information to ask for change at that level. There is a next generation of animal advocates but, as adults, we have the power to sort things out and not leave such a quagmire for the young.

By 2020, it is suspected that two thirds of wildlife will have been destroyed. 
This has all been done in the last 40 years. The year 2020 has given me the heebiejeebies for a few years now, since I heard that Ireland plans to double its herd and meat and dairy production and export by then. They called it the '2020 Harvest' but it is really a 2020 carnage. 

You might have thought that farmers would have spotted that dairy prices would go down, once the quota was lifted… but not from 39 to 18 cent per litre. I have had several farmers come to me and they have still not been able to pay for the feed for their animals, from last winter and some not even the year before. We are talking about every strata of society being exploited by a few; business, farm, social enterprise, sustainable industries, family, individual and animals on a gruesome scale. 

We can say that it has been like that for years, that we will never change it. However we can and must stand up to our corrupt, ignorant and greed driven government by letting them know we fully understand what they are doing and ask them to represent and implement what society wants and needs, instead, in their governance and budgets. This has been done many times in history and I think we are again being asked to step up.

Please everyone come to the Department of Agriculture, Kildare Street in Dublin from 11.30-16.30 on the 9th November 2016. Bring posters for whatever concerns you most but the event is to protect Irish Greyhounds from live export to places like China where they race them again. If they are not successful in every race and always eventually they enter the dog meat trade. Slim pickings you might say and you would be right but animals are boiled alive over there and some animals they wedge, while still alive, between their dining tables and eat the brains out of their heads. This is what we are dealing with. Raving psychopaths world wide, lets get kindness taught in schools and humane representation in government. And don't buy anything that was mean-spiritedly made.

Brilliantly, I was in touch with the Humane Party in the US this week. In fact, I friend requested Clifton Roberts the presidential candidate from the Humane Party just to get ideas of how they might structure a vegan economy. What a conscious offering for all life forms, the environment and human industry and endeavour!! Unbelievably he voice messaged me straight back thanking me for my inspiring message and talking away as if we were long-time friends. He said the Humane Party are particularly keen to help translate the political components of governance for other people, companies and parties. They would help in any way they could if we formed a Humane Party over here in Ireland and make it as relevant to the specific issues people and animals are facing here.

This is Clifton Roberts' acceptance speech for the nomination...let it relieve your weary souls with renewed hope! I also gather that those of you in America can vote for him. There is a convincing short video that showed that people are being told it is only worth voting for Clinton or Trump but actually there is good argument for voting for an independent. 

 Each penny represents a million people.

This has only just occurred to me now but: Being vegan - ie a lifestyle of intentional harmlessness to others and the environment and holding a vision and reasoning capacity beyond self-interest - should be a pre-requisite of anyone in any public office.  Surely!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Savour Kilkenny Festival: Great Vegan Menu and Organic Growing with Greenside Up

Beer Garden, Billy Byrnes, John Street, Kilkenny

Billy Byrnes was the home of the Vegan Feast night in honour of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival. Suffice to say, I was there at 6pm on the button.

Good news for Vegans in Dublin, one of the chefs was Paul Bourke of the restaurant Cornucopia - so you can eat like that every day! And the other was Podge Meade, from Billy Byrnes...So, I'll have to check but I think that means we can eat like that in Kilkenny every day of the week too!

James Burke, Chef of the vegan Cornucopia in Dublin shares summer recipes 

I want to one day write out all those dishes and try making them all but hopefully readers can just about see what was on offer.

On Saturday, I went to the DIY Organic Herbs Workshop at the Small Holders Marquee with Dee Sewell of Greenside Up. At she has a multitude of blogs on how to grow herbs, how to dry and otherwise preserve them and how to use them - for health, medicine, flavour and for a pollinator-friendly garden. And if it is the 'organic' bit that caught your eye, there is alot of information there too, on how to manage weeds and pests without using chemicals!!

Sheep at Savour. Goodness knows why they brought 3 rather than 2 so they had to be so cheek by jowel. Still, their wool had been used to make fabulous blankets that were on the wall inside. There is always the difficulty of shaving someone's coat off without permission. Whatever arguments that they would be hot without it, there is an exploitation and often a violence in the wool industry too that most vegans would consider unnecessary.

Geese at Savour. Absolutely beautiful birds and I hope they, as a couple touched the hearts of many who as a result won't eat one this Christmas.

Turkeys at Savour. Why are they looking away and trying to look busy? Because they don't trust people at all, they only want them dead and plucked. Not a very nice day out for them I suspect.

The next challenge was lined up to be three Argentinian chefs who were coming to stay Bed & Breakfast. I was picturing the wide open spaces of home and all those animals and in a way I was spot on. They arrived exhausted, having been 'making steak sandwiches all day'. Nonetheless, within the miraculous connection of all good souls, we got on great and they liked the pigs and even talked of how they hope to open a sanctuary one day. I love the way that kindness spreads and comes around.

I think all in all, it was a brilliant festival and I was only sorry to miss Frances Walsh doing the Raw Food Workshop. I have done a raw Italian Food workshop in the west and loved it. Now if you really want to get well, raw is the way to go. Eating food raw retains all the vitamins and minerals that the ingredients had in them. But be sure to buy organic fruit and veg or you will be accunulating all that glysophate too. If it is cancer that you're dealing with, it could almost be worth moving to a warm country as the skin of ripe fruit contains some of the most powerful antioxidants of all. Problem is with much of the fruit we get here is that it has been artificially ripened in warehouses and none of those antioxidants have had a chance to form.

Still, healthy mindful eating, detoxing and harmlessness all help in the quest for a healthy happy heart, so it's a good place to start. Another good Kilkenny festival!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Magic of Gratitude, Quadrupled for Some!

Further investigation, in to the magic of gratitude, has revealed something epic.

You know how some charities say that a kind donor will match your donation euro for euro, if you donate in the next week or whatever?

Well, vegans can multiply their donations by ten at least, at a time.

How can this be, you might ask?

It is because so many animals are grateful to you! It is a win win win situation.

I went out today for an afternoon walk...mentally preparing myself for Savour Kilkenny Food Festival. I immediately passed 10 young bullocks in a field. Each one more beautiful than the next. One with an eye patch of sorts, one with a mohecan, one with a completely white face and completely black body; all of them came straight over. They are probably 6 months old and they came to say that I have only a year max to save them. They asked if they could move in to my place but i explained it was only 50 metres away and they'd be spotted without a shadow of a doubt.

Vegan Feast at Billy Byrnes this Friday 28th October with vegan Savour Festival Chefs

It was discussed that we can't fight the meat eating, there is not even need to raise awareness any more. All we can do is help facilitate people's transition to a vegan lifestyle, for whatever reason they show up. It was also discussed that they probably won't show up initially on the basis of sudden compassion for animals. It will more likely be a health need, a personal need mainly.

But I'm really glad of that too as however people come into this slipstream of harmlessness - no animals or fish, no egg or dairy industry, no sugar, no slavery, no chemicals, we will be there with totally recognizable meals that make the changes easy.

I admit the bottle of wine makes this fruit cocktail something for later in the day!

As a preliminary breakfast menu, when you want to serve up something substantial?
Go for Linda McCartney Sausages, waffles, organic baked beans, organic mushrooms and grilled organic tomato with a herb or two or just plain Himalayan pink salt...

This is my favourite salt as on one side of the packet it says 'Made 50 million years ago' and on the other side it reads 'Use by 2016' - So I am very grateful for whoever seized this exact window when we can use it.
I even give my Magic pony a himalayan pink salt lick - electrolytes are so important! Also first frosts are coming next week so don't forget to get animals' winter quarters ready. I have the Valentine's Day pink heat lamp ready to go for the pigs, Becky and Legend. And don't forget to make a bee hotel (for all the friendly bugs really) for their hibernation.

This is where the gratitude gets doubled by nearby animals. You make a kind choice and they add their ten pence worth too.

That is some serious magic dust being sprinkled on your life, right there.

So, if you're in the habit of worrying about your friends, your family, your animals, all animals, your money, the sea, the environment and humanity...stop it at once! Deep breathe and say thank you for each thing and aspect.

If you want help, support or even a week's shopping or meals prepared while you or someone in your family transitions to vegan, I would be eternally grateful if you got in touch! And if you're perfectly happy with how things are already, I am grateful for that too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Animal Rights Rally and Letter to Cut and Paste for Release of the Laboratory Dogs


Letter sent to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and shadow TD Andrew Doyle and
It is with grim determination that I write to ask you to speed up the release of dogs from the Charles River Laboratory. The only logical explanation for their retention, already a full 6 months after testing on them has stopped is because they are in such horrendous condition that they will spark further outrage if the public see them. The actual fact is that the laboratory that inflicted that treatment on the animals - 6 of the worst major non compliances ever exposed- should not be in charge of the animals’ recuperation.

Instead, Charles River or their umbrella company could be fined €100,000 for the non compliances and that money could go to the welfare groups that can and want to take care of them and get them ready for rehoming. This figure of €100,000 is fractionally less than the SEI gave the laboratory in grants. It is abhorrent to any human being that the company should continue to be facilitated and unaccountable even now.

It is the same principle that says that the lab’s documents of the test results should not be released in case it leads to people attacking the staff, which was last week’s response to the FOI request for information.

I am not really interested in a response from you that says that the ISPCA are working closely with Charles River and the DAFM to work out a rehoming programme. That is months it has been going on for and I wish you would stop protecting the company and openly and immediately extricate the dogs ( I gather 600 of them and 30 something puppies) and openly and immediately release funding for the ISPCA and whatever else they need – to rehabilitate the animals.

This Sunday is the last ARAN (Animal Rights Action Network) rally ever in Cork. The founder John Carmody is retiring after 21 years diligently raising compassion for and awareness of animal suffering. I would dearly love for your department to recognize his efforts and impact by making a public statement on animal welfare issues next week. Good news is required for the animals in laboratories, in fur farms, animals raised for food, dairy cows, live export, entertainment, the stray dogs, horses and cats and the raced and hunted wild and domestic animals as well.

Social enterprises that care for the less well off in our society, be they human or animal, need to be acknowledged, supported and prioritized as you all know or once did, when you first went in to politics.

Many thanks in advance,

Frances Micklem 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Music-Supported Activism - These are the artists and albums I'm gad of!

Harmony Hall has been alive with music and amazing visitors. While Suzanne Jarvie was on tour here in Ireland, I took the opportunity to hear as much of the music as possible. She was playing with the wonderful Kate Fenner and Tony Scherr and with Chris Brown who has, himself, been such an inspiration since touring with David Corley in the spring. As Corley said, when they did their house concert here, Chris is the real wizard.

Suzanne Jarvie Gig Superior To Neil Young and The Dixie Chicks

Stepping up from that acclaim again, a review of the aforesaid four, in The George Bernard Shaw Centre in Carlow was: I have seen Neil Young and The Dixie Chicks this year and this has been the best concert by a long way.

Back in the spring, they had left me with a vinyl copy of David Corley’s Available Light album, and CDs of Suzanne Jarvie’s album Spiral Road and Chris Brown and Citizens Band's Oblivion and Burden of Belief  albums, all featuring Kate Fenner and Tony Scherr in vocal and musical capacities. So I was grateful, well before the tour began, for the new and timeless music each one of them has recorded.

I think every activist has felt that 'it’s killing them, to see the point in everything’ and that ‘consciousness is a lonely place, without the hand of grace’. People need some success, to provide contrary evidence to the success of those that don’t care about what they’re doing.

Compare these things for a moment.

There are things that other countries are getting right that we in Ireland are not! 

Animal Experimentation Firm get over €101,000 euro grant
Despite 4 of the worst confirmed breaches of animal protection legislation.
It is now being shut down because of the above but are being very cagey about rehoming the dogs.
My good self and 100s like me apply for grants of between €5-100,000 until the cows come home and get no actual funding.
People who want to provide ethically produced products and many other supports to transition to a sustainable economy and community have to prove they have charitable status, a 40-page application, an amazing existing business and business plan and the ability to match funding 50/50. Oh yes...and prove that no person will receive a cent of the grant, it can only be spent on stuff! 

Pros and Cons project awarded 25,000 to expand a mentoring music programme for prisoners, having proved that society is a safer place if you can retrieve hearts and minds from dereliction.

Putting gender considerations in to the centre of world economics, at the IMF

Awarding a Certified Green and vegan fashion designer from Barbados a top award in Toronto.


Where demonstrations are held outside fashion outlets that still use fur and we can't even get the fur farms shut down, skinning 75,000 animals a year in each 'farm'.

Anyway, anyway, anyway...back to what I’m grateful for! I really enjoyed this tour...this might have come across already! And I'm also glad they'll be back next year.
In the meantime, if you want to look just beyond your 5 senses to see your work in a broader context, let these artists come to your assistance. The lyrics will make sense of so many aspects of compassion, love and justice without the attachments of anger or sadness. So, when strong feelings threaten to deactivate you, come back to the music and sing all your cares Damien Dempsey once said. 

 I would want for all these guys, as individuals and musicians and as a band, absolutely massive success and to be a household name!  For the right reasons, of course!

I say ‘for the right reasons’ as Suzanne Jarvie, when she isn’t writing, recording and touring, is a lawyer. People in Ireland dread the legal process like a hell to be entered into without a hope in hell of finding representation that has not long ago disappeared down the road with their money and yours and still maintain a sense that they are doing you a favour and you couldn’t manage without them. Even when it is clear you will not be compensated or justice done in any way at all, you have to accept that decision as ‘considered’ and final.

Not so in Canada, it turns out, as they have a Law Society that provides accountability for lawyers themselves. Suzanne Jarvie is a prosecutor of lawyers who act with a conflict of interests or inappropriate treatment of clients and all the other reams of misconduct. When Suzanne mentioned this at the gig in Cleeres Theatre, Kilkenny, the whole crowd cheered. A few days later she told a great story of a lawyer with three decades of fraud behind him that she had come up against -her sharp and brilliant humour matched only by her Never Gonna Stop attitude and love songs like Love Is Now.

Later, in Kerry, we got on line and found that there is such a system in Ireland too. First you ever heard of it? Me too! And I suspect that we are not encouraged to. There are supposed to be elected lawyers and a free service to investigate claims of legal misconduct. Possibly every lawyer in Ireland gets their main jobs from one firm and every judge gets their decisions handed to them by a government minister. A bit like The Rose of Tralee but more sinister!
Anyway, we must persevere and explore what services we do have here in Ireland to bring transparency and accountability to businesses, the legal profession and institution, councils and government. Try and get ourselves up to speed so that we can’t be just swept along with the defensive tag line ‘they’re providing jobs’ whenever you try and flag something up. Let’s keep pointing out the human cost, the environmental costs, the exploitation in those supply chains and our ideas for a better way. Every thought is a creation, so let’s make it a radical change of direction, decided in awareness and clarity.

I've just today got back from Barbados where there are also a lot of Canadian influences - I think because there is a direct flight!! So as a result of my journey back, I can add to these musical recomendations Laurie Anderson's film (as tribute to her late dog and her late husband, Lou Reed) The Heart of A Dog and Dave Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) album Rattle The Lock. Absolutely classic too. Laurie Anderson notes the police state and the new terror that danger might come from the air. Simultaneously, in the plane the cabin crew walked up and down 3 times spraying pesticide! In a sealed cabin, nice! And when we passed through England 3 photos were taken and one x ray! So there are a lot of calls to action when you see what's going down (I was being slagged on holiday for seeing every single thing as a call to action!) but keep the music going to keep body and soul together!