Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Legal weight for Save Kilkenny Campaign

What is happening in Kilkenny is like a precedent being set for the whole of Ireland. A mixed collective of people committed to searching out the truth. Aristotle said 'Happy is the man who defends that which he loves'. We, on the Save Kilkenny Campaign, have the three forms of conscious behavior on our side; Acceptance (of the responsibility to turn up and inform ourselves), enthusiasm (for the task in hand. The enthusiasm is generated by the fact that we each genuinely value Kilkenny City, for its quality of life, its history and protectiveness of its people) and also there is joy. (This is because we are free. Free to ask questions, free to stop the corruption of the council and have them dismissed. Free to stand in the way of the contractors, blankly doing their jobs and free to connect with each other globally in a powerful way and correct the situation. The legal foundation of these freedoms is now being shared by experts in every field with the campaign. Inadvertently, the cracked council plan and relentless abuse of power and public money has led to the forming of this rising tide. This high tide will see a case so watertight that people everywhere can use it to make sure their county is not scavenged in the name of progress or corporate interest. For example, I noticed that 2 licenses have been granted to explore for more oil in Irish Waters, one to an Australian Company and one to a company from Cyprus. Neither will care about damage done. I gather that local councils have the power to refuse fracking in their county. I see that the High Courts have stopped An Bord Pleanala granting wind farm permissions in the face of hundred of local objections. We are learning how to enforce common sense on every level, as and when we need to. Thanks for all the legal experts who are coming forwards to help.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Green Party takes back the reins as Whistleblowing or a Review Starts Tomorrow in Kilkenny

It is suggested that Kilkenny's new inner city motorway bridge and central access scheme is being pushed through solely to develop the old cattle mart, an empty site on the outskirts of town. There are plenty of roads going to it already. There are other questions about what will be done with the other sites and buildings affected and the council will not disclose who owns what and who signed what, regarding the plans. What about freedom of information, accountability and transparency? What about the use of public money, buying a 3-page advert for the scheme, in the local newspaper last week? 

People are getting closer and closer to blowing the whistle on the real reasons and beneficiaries for the continued building of this bridge, in the face of 10,000 signatures asking for it to be stopped. Also the recent elections were won on the strength of councillors being against the scheme. Since then, however, one councillor Breda Gardener was threatened with a month's suspension for raising questions about the scheme-a convenient way to make sure there was one less councillor to vote for a review. Another councillor was privately asked to take the Scheme off the agenda for this Monday, even though the meeting has been specifically promised to residents, protesters and those within the council who are openly opposed to the scheme. 

It is the possibility of a review that is to be discussed tomorrow. There are planning permission precedents in Ireland's own history where even a building already partially built has had its planning permission retracted. Furthermore there were stipulations for the site to be returned to its original state. So stopping the scheme is not impossible, a review is not impossible as the council keep saying. It should be done. With Ireland's new whistle blowing bill passed this week, the truth sayers are now protected. Those Kilkenny Councillors, County Manager (John Mulholland) and gardai who have hidden in the shadows of serving their own agenda or other compromised stances would want to be getting clear asap about the need for a review and saying so on Monday, before the inevitable exposure of corruption that will follow.

In the past, The Green Party lost some ground as they were seen to have folded to Fianna Fail. Kilkenny's Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan, though, has never caved. He has been fighting the Central Access Scheme for 10 years. While he was Mayor and in every other capacity he has led. This is interesting as the Whistle Blowing bill states that a person must have fair and square tried to raise and address the problems before blowing the whistle. Cllr Noonan has certainly met that rule. He has also been in the Council a very long time. The question is, would he be prepared to share what he has witnessed in that time to expose the council? Another part of the Whistle Blowing bill is that someone might be compensated 5 years' salary! But in Kilkenny, we need his integrity, wisdom and know-how in politics. I wonder if maybe this time it can be the old-school councillor culprits  who are made to resign by the ombudsman and Cllr Noonan take the helm, while a new election takes place.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Total Humiliation for Kilkenny County Council and Gardai

Total humiliation for Kilkenny County Council and Gardai

At 4am this morning more than forty guards plus the riot squad turned up at the site of the planned Central Access Scheme in the centre of Kilkenny, to do the bidding of the council and the enlisted cowboy contractors. For the last two weeks families, professionals, old and young have been keeping the heaviest machinery off the site – 24 hours a day. Instead of putting the plan on hold, they tried at 4am one day and at 4pm another day. It was a massive pile driver, needing 7 lorries to carry it, to ram iron girdas into the River Nore. Symbolically, the council are the pile drivers, bullying their way on against complete public objection and the gardai are their pole dancers, kidding and laughing appallingly at the people holding the line.  The citizens have pointed out from the start that both the council and the gardai are supposed to work for the people not the corporations.

The lies
The council invited the community of people who opposed and were protesting, to a meeting. The supposedly neutral mediator was the superintendent. The meeting was just an opportunity for the council to say that the machinery would have a garda escort and people would be taken away if they blocked their entrance. If the machinery was allowed in, however, it was promised that no work would take place until Monday. By half past five this morning Friday, they were already assembling the driver. During the meeting when protesters down at the line were still thinking that a real review might be arranged, the contractors got the opportunity to get five more 60-tonne lorries of stone down to the river. It was supposed to be washed stone. The pollution of unwashed lime stone dust has already damaged the river, suffocating fish. The council have used old lines of the right to remain silent, confidentiality about who is benefiting and who signed off on the contract. It happened amongst the old council and the newly elected councilors have a key opportunity to stop it, instead of defend and deny its absurdity.
A motorway bridge right into the Medieval Mile of Kilkenny… leading nowhere, coming from nowhere as planning permission has not been granted for an adjoining road yet either side! It is not just over the river, it is a flyover, standing above peoples’ houses and dominating the small city – just meters from St Canice’s Cathedral, the most ancient monument.

The people are not being listened to. As Ann Phelan is made Minister for Roads etc, she faces her biggest challenge on her own doorstep. The County Manager, John Mulholland, has invited the protesters to help form a citizen’s forum to look at another related site, the old Smithwicks Brewery. This is obviously another lie, distraction, delay tactic, along with the lies told to the paper and local radio; that work had been stopped until the review meeting on Monday next. The citizen’s Forum is a good idea but for the bridge, not for some next project to be rail-roaded through. We need the whole country to support  the stopping of this project ASAP. People were crying and drenched this morning. They have done their best and legal means are expensive, especially when all the formal bodies are prepared to say what they want, regardless of the truth or their formal responsibility. That could get very expensive for the individual. Naming and shaming is the only way. The bullying tactics from Council and Gardai are standard. So is the power struggle. The scheme was a final blow dealt by the last county manager Joe Crockett.  Like North Korea’s leader, he just wanted to show he had the power.  Those old institutions might be stuck but lets transcend convention and predictability. Please help get the truth and awareness out to everyone and get the bridge stopped today.

Reasons to join 'Save Kilkenny' opposing the Central Access Scheme - New Directions Podcast

Tonight at 10pm on the link above and afterwards on demand.

This is what's happening in Kilkenny and how everyone can maybe get involved!

All those trees will be gone and the river that can just be glimpsed to the left of the lorry is being polluted recklessly. Not to mention the bats and the god-forsaken citizens who may have to live under the road. 

Copy of Letter to Cllr Ann Phelan - When international policy is all pointing towards getting heavy traffic out of towns and cities, 5 key players in Kilkenny are driving metal posts and unwashed rock into the river at the centre of town to build a motorway bridge with no planning permission for it to lead anywhere on either side!! 

Dear Ann, (ann.phelan@oireachtas.ie if everyone else can send a letter too!) 

Thank goodness you have been made minister for marine life, transport etc for Kilkenny. Our beautiful medieval capital needs you asap to put the CAS on hold before they get through with more unwashed stone and pour it into the river. The contractors have no regard and a very bad track record - having had to remake the weir further up the river recently as the salmon couldn't get up to spawn. There have been fish gasping for breath with the lime dust already and the head of the EPA team seen laughing with the contractor on site. You have got to help the people (many of whom are protesting and nearly all of whom are objecting to the random vast bridge erection, aimed at a few listed buildings - on which no planning permission has been granted). You have got to help them prove that regard, truth, compassion and sense can impact on greed and ignorance. It is not enough or appropriate for the council to hide behind the right to remain silent, claim ignorance or confidentiality of key people's identities. Just because its started does not mean it must finish. Stop the works on all the grounds of health and safety violations (I myself witnessed a girda fall from a snapped winch line, dangerously close to a workers feet). Stop it on concerns of threat to fish and other wildlife. Diageo the brewery themselves insisted it was put on hold as the threat of pollution was so guaranteed that they stated it would reduce the quality of their product. There are just five people pushing this through, owners of the mart, the contractor and a few others who are benefiting, within the council. The decision was made before the recent elections as you know, so retract it. Extricate the CAS from the development scheme and refuse the funding for it. It would not be money well spent. If the bridge is built it will be a license to overthrow any objections to the rest of the destruction planned. Stop it right now and the people will support you. I know that a minister recently was threatened for speaking up against the scheme. This is bullying and you must not let bullying define what happens next.

*the planned road will dissect the city; running directly through the Medieval Mile (recently launched at a cost of €5.5 million), at the foot of St. Canice's Cathedral and tower (Kilkenny's oldest standing structure)

*the road will run through the old Mart site; this would be an ideal location for a much-needed secondary school in Kilkenny; currently there is only one (Kilkenny College) on that side of the river, but with the large increase in population in the area - young families in particular - there will be a desperate need for a new school

There is an ongoing 24/7 protest at the construction site, and it is gaining support with each passing hour. We are ordinary people, with jobs and families, who cannot stand idly by and watch as a beautiful and invaluable part of our historic city, is destroyed (in the guise of progress) for short term gain. This proposal was originally hatched in 1978, and it was scrapped then, as it should be now. There are numerous reasons why the proposal is a disaster, some of which are articulately expressed in the following clip:

An Taisce, who are totally opposed to the scheme, recently rated Ireland's county councils on their planning systems; Kilkenny was rated 'E', the second lowest grade. I refer you to the report:http://cdn.thejournal.ie/.../20120416StateoftheNation

We implore like-minded people of Kilkenny and those anywhere who have a similar love of the city to spread the word as to what a disgrace and mistake the proposed central access scheme (CAS) is. This is long term destruction of our residential and medieval cityscape. The completion of the original outer Kilkenny Ring Road is still planned and required.

I urge you in your new capacity as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, Marine and Transport, Tourism and Sport, to act as a voice on behalf of the Kilkenny people, and intervene immediately. I believe it is within your remit to involve yourself in this situation. Very best regards, Frances Micklem -
Thanks to Deirdre from the protest at Green's Bridge for the second half of this letter - as in the facts and research in the second half!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Garth Brooks, please still come to Ireland for the full 5 dates!

So lets compare planning applications:

1.  A multitude of suspect planning permission given, in the face of national objection, to erect structures to guarantee generations of misery, aesthetic offense, depletion of tourism, ill health, environmental disaster and de valuing of peoples' homes, in the shape of giant pylons, motorways through medieval cities, power stations and factories...


2. Planning refusal for 2 extra Garth Brooks concerts? Maybe if it was Rage Against The Machine (**** you, I won't do what you tell me), or a National Front rally or any other gathering of angry people getting psyched up. Or even losers, as there inevitably must be at any match held there, that's the nature of competition... but Garth Brooks?! (If tomorrow never comes, will you know how much I love you?) He just says what everyone else wants and needs to say. You couldn't find a more contented united crowd to mill around your neighbourhood, on their way home.

So yes, all the above planning applications may come down to greed but I checked in to see where the GAA of Croke Park, the venue, are on that greedy business list: 597th place. Lets get some perspective and let the show go on, I say…even if they have to arrange for Punchestown or Kilkenny!