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Edited Extract From Open Letter:
"Our imprisonment was only made possible by the granting of a compulsory order for our lands to Shell by Frank Fahey T.D. while Minister for Marine and Natural Resources. Without that order we would be free men today at home with our families. Instead we are confined in prison cells. . . .
In addition the government has provided 400 acres of Coillte land and committed the Irish people to finance a gas pipe from Mayo to Galway to facilitate the outward transport of gas to the UK and Europe. The national interest is a myth that has been fabricated by the Irish government and their partner Shell. The minister Noel Dempsey and his Department are not and have never been innocent bystanders in this crisis but have played a full role alongside Shell in its creation.
The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon.
Does the introduction of PPP schemes into prison building also signal the introduction of private prisons? Security companies like Wackenhut and Group4 operate prisons in the UK and USA. Private prisons are routinely condemned by human rights groups. But what are the alternatives to building a new superprison in north Co. Dublin? What other options are open to the Minister for Justice?
In this short film, Joe Costello from the Labour Party (a regular commentator on prison issues and prisoners rights), Rick Lines from the Irish Penal Reform Trust, and Seanie Lambe from ICON (Inner City Organisations Network, a community organisation based in the Summerhill area) give their opinions on the closure of Mountjoy. Issues discussed include the implications of private companies' involvement in the construction of the new prison, what will probably happen with the existing site, and different initiatives that could be put forward to combat crime at its source, rather than continually incarcerating people & building bigger prisons.
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This Friday sees the premiere in Dublin of Six Films About Social Centres – a series of short documentaries about autonomous social centres from Belfast to Barcelona. Ideally, this screening should take place in an autonomous social centre, but Dublin has none. (A parish hall is being borrowed for the evening).So, in a year or two will someone be able to come to Dublin and make a documentary about an autonomous social centre here? Or will fundraiser gigs, political meetings and workshops always have to take place in Teachers Clubs or the upstairs rooms of pubs? Will Food Not Bombs always be at the mercy of the weather? Will there be somewhere indoors to go after street parties?
The Indymedia centre that operated for a couple of weeks around Mayday this year gave many people a glimpse of the great use to which a disused building can be put. It reminded just how badly Dublin lacks an autonomous space.
The Six Films made by Direct Action Against Apathy, a Belfast-based collective will be screened at 8pm on Friday at the St Nicholas of Myra Parish Hall (Carman's Hall, a street running between Francis St and Thomas St Map), followed by a brief discussion, music, a raffle and a photo exhibition about social centres.
The Dublin Grassroots Network (DGN) has called on the owners of the exclusive Berkeley Court Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin to cancel a major international weapons conference due to take place at the hotel on October 19th and 20th.
The 'Jane’s Less Lethal Weapons 2004 Conference - Critical Incident Intervention' conference is effectively a trade fair for tools of torture and political repression, according to the DGN, which is vowing to stop the event from going ahead.
Mick Dooley of the DGN said: "If the Jury’s Doyle Hotel group doesn’t cancel this conference, we will call on the public to come out and force it to be shut down."
"The weapons in question include electro-shock batons, stun guns, plastic bullets, Tasers, CR Gas, pepper spray and the new sonic-bombs that have been deployed to 'disperse' crowds in Iraq.
"Put simply, people who sell these tools of political repression and torture and people who want to buy them will be gathering at the Berkeley Court to do business," Dooley said. "Irish people will not tolerate that."
"The Berkeley Court conference is the first event of its kind ever to be held in Ireland," Dooley said. "Apparently this country is now being seen as a potential growth market for the arms industry. The nature of the event is extremely provocative, coming at a time when revulsion at the war machine and the arms industry is running high across the world."
Northern Ireland's appalling track record in plastic bullet deaths is being celebrated by the inclusion of Colin Burrows, a former RUC superintendent, as conference host and main speaker.
The speakers also include senior officers from the West Midlands Police, which framed the Birmingham Six and others, and from the LAPD, responsible for beating Rodney King. The CEO of Taser International Inc, a major supplier of weaponry to the occupation forces in Iraq, will also be speaking.
"Are these people being invited here to teach the Irish authorities how to brutalise people?" Dooley asked. "The organisers of this conference and the owners of the hotel need to get a loud and clear message from people in Ireland: we are not going to sit back and allow these people to peddle weapons that will be used against us in the near future."
Mon 13 Jul, 21:26
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