Young Greens show solidarity for people in Direct Provision – 20/11/2014

Young Greens with Cllr. Malcolm Noonan

Young Greens with Cllr. Malcolm Noonan

http://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/

http://www.nascireland.org/

http://www.mrci.ie/

http://akidwa.ie/

The Young Greens are calling for an end to direct provision for asylum seekers in Ireland. Fundamentally, direct provision is a violation of basic human rights and basic human dignity. We acknowledge the dreadful harm that has been done to people seeking asylum in this country by past governments, including the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition.

Having taken part in today’s protest outside Leinster House and the Department of Justice, the Young Greens are fully committed to ending direct provision and making up for the mistakes of current and past governments. Politics today is lacking any acceptance of responsibility and any acceptance of the damage that governments can do when certain decisions are made. Especially in light of the role the Greens had before in a government that took these decisions, we decided that, unlike the other parties who fostered and engaged in this system, it is time to take responsibility for a series of mistakes that we were part of. We are not willing to stand idly by, bury our heads in the sand and do nothing to help bring an end to this crisis. In going to today’s protest we hoped to show solidarity and use what platform we have to help amplify the voices of those leading this necessary campaign.

The way that this country treats those who come looking for our help is abhorrent. As was pointed out today at the protest, migration is a part of Irish history. Throughout history, and even in the present day, many Irish people have been left with no option but to leave their homeland. The many Irish communities that exist around the globe are a testament to this migration, which was done as an effort to survive. As is well documented, the Irish abroad were so often treated as second class citizens and were unjustly abused and exploited in their new homelands. To deny that part of our culture and the similarities we share with other cultures is ignorant. To act as if we have learned nothing from our history, to treat those who come to this country is the same shameful manner as we ourselves were treated is a grave mistake. Unfortunately this mistake has been made by Irish people and their representatives for too long, as seen on an individual level in the intimidation of ethnic minorities in Waterford last month, and on a systematic level in the abusive practice of direct provision.

As far as the Young Greens are concerned, we stand in solidarity with the families who have been effectively imprisoned by the state. We stand in solidarity with who are trapped in an abusive system by inefficiency and bureaucracy. These people’s rights are being denied today and every day and will continue to be so until the system of direct provision is ended.

The Young Greens/ Óige Ghlas

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The Beef Protests and the Larger Issue of the Mismanagement of the Irish Agriculture Sector 12/11/2014

Young Greens Chair, Lorna Bogue, in solidarity with Farmers

Young Greens Chair, Lorna Bogue, in solidarity with Farmers

Yesterday afternoon, the 48 hour protest by members of the Irish farming community against unfair beef prices that took place at 12 of the nation’s largest meat factories came to an end. Despite this, very few of the problems raised by these farmers have been resolved. Lorna Bogue, Chair of the Young Greens/Óige Ghlas, attended one of the protests in Charleville to get an insight into how this is affecting those who are demonstrating.

“Irish beef farmers appear to be in a catch-22 situation. Around 70% of meat processors in Ireland are owned by three companies”, Bogue said. “These companies, because they have such large market share, are able to dictate what price they’ll pay for the cattle that farmers bring in to them. This puts beef farmers in the difficult position of not knowing what price they will be able to sell their cattle for, so the likelihood of a farmer having a bad year, i.e. buying too many cattle, incurring the cost of raising these cattle and then being unable to sell them for a profit, is much greater. This results in farmers either having to take a greater risk the following year, going into debt, or simply not farming anymore.”

“Many of the farmers I was talking to yesterday believe that the meat processors, particularly the three largest processors, appear to be a functional cartel (fixing the prices amongst themselves). The Young Greens would agree with this view and would call for an investigation as to whether meat processors are engaging in price fixing in Ireland. Action on price fixing was asked for by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmer’s association back in February of this year[1], but was ignored by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. Many of the issues being flagged right now are ones which have been flagged for a long time”.

It is the view of the Young Greens that the regulations in place are unfair to smaller farmers. It is also our view that the privatisation of beef co-operatives had incredible negative consequences, not only for farmers looking for a fair price, but also for the average consumer. As our chair elaborated, “a further problem that is faced by beef farmers is that they have to conform to what are quite arbitrary standards from meat processors. Given that the meat processors have such a hold on the market, given that there is nowhere else that they can go to sell their cattle, the farmers must conform to the regulations, which seem to be designed to lower the price that meat processors have to pay for cattle.”

“The fact that there are so few options for farmers outside of the big players is as a direct result of government after government supporting the creation of large private companies which largely focus on export. Although these companies may have started off as part of the co-op movement, the fact of the matter is that they are now private companies, beholden only to their shareholders and not farmers, or indeed citizens of this state. One has only to look at Glanbia, who has been found lately to be moving money through Luxembourg to avoid taxes[2] to see that this is the case.”

[1] http://www.independent.ie/business/farming/new-icsa-chief-wants-action-on-deepening-bull-beef-crisis-29975329.html

[2] http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/glanbia-s-1bn-luxembourg-move-to-cut-its-irish-tax-bill-1.1989452

by Diarmuid Burke – Branch Coordinator

The Young Greens call for an end to anti-Roma bigotry 26/10/2014

Originally posted: https://www.facebook.com/notes/young-greens-%C3%B3ige-ghlas/the-young-greens-call-for-an-end-to-anti-roma-bigotry-26102014/10152523504084790 

Yesterday evening in Waterford a gang of individuals gathered outside of the home of a Roma family in order to have what was described as a “peaceful protest”.

We, the Young Greens, fully condemn this action, because we see this as an act fuelled entirely by ignorance and racism.

‘This wasn’t racist, it’s a peaceful protest’:

Imagine for a moment that a large group of people gathered outside of your home.  They may not throw stones; they may not hurl insults at you, in fact they may not say anything. However, one does not need to be assaulted, whether physically or verbally, to be intimidated, and there is no way that this form of intimidation was just.

To have a large gang of people standing outside of your home with the sole intention of letting you know that you and any one of your ethnicity are not welcome in the community is an action which is inherently aggressive and contrasts sharply with the claim that this was “peaceful”. We would also say that racism in and of itself is a violent structure.

This action was an action that targets a group of people in a personal capacity. These individuals are not trying to affect change upon a broken system. They are simply parroting the scapegoating that the Roma people have been subject to from those in positions of power and from an often biased media that seeks to cement the position of those in said power. This was not a “protest”, this was an angry mob.

Were those involved in this “protest” to gather outside of the home of an Irish family who they suspected of committing crimes, they would be condemned out of hand. Were an Irish family at the centre of the debacle taking place then the immediate response of everyone involved would be to let the justice system do its job, and to condemn the intimidation of the family in question. But for a Roma family the situation is different, the fear that this family must be feeling isn’t treated similarly. The ugly truth is that this lack of sympathy is solely because these people are Roma.

‘This is justified because all Roma are involved in criminal gangs’

It is extremely disheartening that Irish people, of all people, would view the Roma in such a negative light, that so many still believe that the Roma as a people are inherently criminals. This is particularly disappointing because we as a people had had to endure similar stereotypes in the past, because failures in the social system made it economically necessary to emigrate. Irish people have been particularly harmed by caricatures which painted us as drunk, violent criminals who were abusive towards our families. Many cartoons and articles existed in which Irish people were portrayed as ‘subhuman’. And now, knowing that harm, we have fallen into the same trap as those who actively oppressed us, we have become oppressors ourselves. Stereotyping was wrong when it happened to the Irish people and it is equally wrong now when we stereotype the Roma culture, the culture of a people who have also experienced hardships.

The Young Greens are not content with standing idly by while such intimidation occurs. We stand with groups like Waterford against Racism ( http://tinyurl.com/pf2fjb3), and Pavee Point ( http://tinyurl.com/oj6gejo) who are fighting against this kind of harassment and discrimination. We encourage every party to stand with us in denouncing this racist behaviour and to make clear statements condemning the actions of the last few days. At this point in time the citizens of this country need solidarity, we all need to stand together. Racism is something which is unquestionably abhorrent and should never be tolerated. A clear line must be drawn between lazy, dangerous racist stereotyping and the risks it poses on a local and national level.

The Young Greens/ An Óige Ghlas