Cork’s housing activists gathered outside the City Hall, demanded an immediate solution to the housing problem from their local politicians.
Protestors marched from St.Patricks’s hill to Cork City Hall where the budget meeting took place.
The activists called out Eoghan Murphy, Minister for housing with slogans such as Eoghan Murphy can you sleep? People are dying on the streets.
“It’s a political choice that does not recognize housing or shelter as a human right,” said Cork housing activist Treasa DeBarra.
“We are here to urge councilors to reject the budget as it is. The budget does not allocate funding that is adequate or needed to solve the housing emergency, but it could. It could have the adequate funding, and it must have it,” said Ms. DeBarra.
The young activist expressed little hope that their efforts would block the housing budget.
“Sadly my friends, the chances are slim that the budget would be blocked.,” said Ms. DeBarra.
“It will be passed by the same forces that are watching our people get evicted and die on the streets,” said Ms. DeBarra.
T.J Hogan from the Traveller community also spoke at the event and described the housing situation direr for his community.
“Some of us like to live in houses just like settled people. Travellers looking for houses face the same problem as the settlers do,” said Mr.Hogan.
“Travellers face additional problems if they look for rental accommodation, “said Mr.Hogan.
Rent prices have increased dramatically in the past few years. According to the latest reports, the average rent in Cork city is 1,100 Euros.
The situation has led to evictions, homelessness or groups living in unsafe conditions in small homes.
Ireland came third in the list of countries which have experienced a hike in housing prices this year.
Yesterday, the housing minister Eoghan Murphy vowed to change the law to force stronger penalties on homeowners found guilty of putting people’s lives in jeopardy with unsafe accommodation.
The government has promised to the tackle the housing crisis many times.
The activists vowed to gather outside the City Council again on Monday morning at 10 A.M.
The Logical Radical has received reports about a sudden drop in Cork City’s tap water quality.
According to some Cork City residents, the change in the water quality has occurred since the temporary nighttime shutdown of City Center’s water supply in late June. However, people living far from the City Center are also experiencing changes in the taste and the smell of their drinking water.
“I don’t know about the water in the city center, but the water in Douglas has had a weird taste for the last two weeks or so,” says a Douglas resident.
“I thought it was just me. Water in Douglas for last 3 weeks tastes earthy. I usually drink loads of tap water but really struggling with it lately. I can still taste it in coffee. Tea not so much,” said another Douglas resident.
While some residents are complaining about changes in the taste of Cork City’s tap water, others have noticed some changes in its smell as well.
“It’s not just the taste; there’s even an ‘earthy” smell off mine. Haven’t noticed any problems while drinking it in coffee, but it tastes fairly awful otherwise,” says another Cork resident.
Most residents described the taste of water as “sand-like” and “earthy.”
The City Hall has always confirmed the presence of lead in the water. Water quality sometimes changes due to heavy rainfalls that wash the extra organic material into the rivers and streams. However, it is unlikely that this would apply to the recent changes in water quality of Cork City since there have not been reports of heavy rain falls in a few weeks.
The EPA is the supervisory authority for public water supplies. Irish Water is responsible for monitoring such supplies and for informing the EPA of non-compliant water monitoring results. The relevant local authority prepares short-term and long-term plans to address the problem, for approval by the EPA. The EPA has legal enforcement powers if appropriate action is not taken” according to the citizen information website.
Residents can make an official complaint about the quality of water on the EPA internet site as well.
Cork residents gathered outside the City’s Grand Parade Library to demand the legalization of abortion this afternoon.
The event which lasted for two hours included a march from Grand Parade to Parnell Place, Patrick’s Street and back. Speakers from various organizations also spoke to protesters.
Union of Students in Ireland President, Annie Hoey, was the first talker of the event. Hoey compared today’s protest to marriage referendum protests in Cork and said:” We do not need to call for a referendum anymore, we are having a referendum.”
Hoey encouraged everyone to get registered to vote in the long-awaited 8th Amendment referendum.
Liz Madden of Cork Feminista was the second speaker of the protest. “ Statistic from the U.K. Government shows that 3000 Irish women have traveled to the UK to access abortion,” said Madden to the crowd. Madden counted poverty, being underage, being in unhealthy relationships, dealing with mental issues as some of the reasons for why women are willing to travel to the United Kingdom to access abortion. “There are many reasons why women want to have an abortion, and it’s not even our place to ask,” added Madden.
Actress, comedian, and writer Tara Flynn also spoke to the crowd. Flynn said that since her experience with abortion (having to travel to Netherlands to access abortion) she has become involved in this campaign.
“Anti-choice rhetoric has had the floor all to itself. That’s why we need to let people know what exactly pro-choice means. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is pro-facts, pro-reality, and pro-kindness. It is pro-pregnant people from every class and background,” added the Irish comedian.
After the rally, more people spoke to the crowd including a South African asylum seeker who had traveled to Ireland while pregnant and was shocked to find out that abortion was illegal in the country. “ It was a huge culture shock for me because where I come from in South Africa, abortion is legal. It has been since 1994.”
Eli Doliver from University College Cork’s feminist society was the last speaker of the gathering. “ The government fails the women who leave the country to seek medical help. Last year alone more than 3000 women went to England and Wales to access abortion. Doliver called the fact that Irish women have to travel to England to seek abortion “an international disgrace” for the country.
Pro-life activists also stood behind with their banners and displayed their objection throughout the event.
One Pro-life activist crashed the pro-choice rally and was trying to convince the protester that they are wrong. Abortion rights in Ireland were specially brought into the spotlight in 2015 and after the death of Savita Halappanavar. Halappanavar was a young dentist who died due to complications of a septic miscarriage after being denied an abortion.
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Independent Councillor for Cobh, set the EU flag on fire in front of the City Hall this evening.
Ó Cadhla who was surrounded by dozens of his supporters and bystanders spoke to them before setting the EU flag on fire.
Counting examples of other Europen Union countries Councillor Ó Cadhla said:” We’ve seen the heated debate in France and Holland, we know European Union membership is a red hot issue,” before going to praise Italy’s nationalist party for promising to hold a referendum on leaving the EU (Italexit) if elected in the next general election.
Ó Cadhla counted the entrance of the United Kingdom the main reason behind Ireland’s joining the EU back in 1973. ” We are going to modernize you, they said. What has happened? We now have the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Famine,” said O’Cadhla blaming country’s housing crisis on the European Union Membership.
” We have a lack of future for young people, every day is filled with anxiety. Senior citizens are afraid to get sick, so they’d be left on hospital trolleys. This is what modernization has brought us!”
Ó Cadhla finished his speech in Gaelic language and set the EU’s flag on fire in front of the City Hall to his supporters’ delight. He then invited his supporters to his office at 99 Douglas Street to have ” many cups of tea.”
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla who considers himself an independent politician had made news recently when he got arrested on charges of vandalism while painting on British street signs in Cork. Ó Cadhla was released after a couple of hours of questioning by the gardaí.
He was also briefly jailed for refusing to disclose his campaign donations for his unsuccessful run in Ireland’s 2011 general election. The jail time was due to his refusal to pay a 300 Euro fine.
He is currently serving as Councillor for Cobh in Cork County Councill.
“Stop the EU/US Corporate Takeover, Demand a Referendum!” these are written in a bold typeface on an anti-EU pamphlet that invites Cork residents to gather every Tuesday afternoon at No.99, Douglas Street. This is the address to the office of Diarmaid O’Cadhla. He is in his late 50’s, but gets excited as a young man when talking about his visions for his country. O’Cadhla has numerous plans for the future of Ireland, but leaving the EU is the first in his list of priorities.
Why an Irexit?
As the time for the final goodbye of Britain to the European Union approaches, activists like O’Cadhla try to unify their compatriots, in pressuring the government for a referendum that can get Ireland out of the European Union. They demand an Irexit: an Irish version of the Brexit that would put an end to an almost 44 years old EU membership. In O’Cadhla’s words:“British people are dead right to assert themselves and we should assert ourselves in a similar manner.”
On the back of O’Cadhla’s yellow vest, one can read the number: 1916. This is the year that Ireland revolted against British rule, something O’Cadhla is most certainly proud of. He is not reluctant to condemn Britain and expresses his disinterest in Ireland’s dependency to this country, but why does he want his country out of the EU, a move that might enforce their ties with the United Kingdom? “It is entirely logical for us to have a relationship with the UK, but we should have proper “trading relationship”, and one of “equality”, which hasn’t been in the past.”
However, O’Cadhla believes that Ireland can get on fine even without any significant trading relationship with the United Kingdom. Even though food and drink industry does account for 7.6% of Irish economy, O’Cadhla has confidence that this is sufficient to take care of all the economic needs of the country. “If the Germans don’t want our fish or beef, fine, the Chinese and Russians will buy it.”
The supposedly huge reservoirs of gas and oil in the Irish waters is another resource that has been pointed out before. O’Cadhla also believes there are “massive quantities of unexplored gas and oil” laid on the grounds of Irish waters, part of which has been discovered and pumped, a wealth he deems Ireland gets nothing from, as long as they are sharing everything with the European Union.
While so many believe that the impact of economic recession on Ireland’s economy has been so severe that it cannot tolerate another economic instability , such as the initial and potential consequences of an Irexit; O’Cadhla believes that such move is not going to create a massive economic crash. He describes Ireland’s EU membership one of the outer layers of many layers of problems in Ireland, which should be “getting rid of”, as soon as possible.
The presence of many corporations and multinational companies in Ireland is another issue that people like O’Cadhla believe that the EU membership has brought on. According to him “All these multi nationals came in and they are only offering short-term jobs with low wages.” Like most Cork citizens who gather together every Tuesday at his office to discuss an Irexit referendum, he thinks that multinational corporations in Ireland “have destroyed the local industry”, in this country.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has repeatedly assured Ireland’s European allies that Ireland would not “terminate their 40 years old EU membership” but O’Cadhla believes that Mr. Kenny will change his mind.” The economic reality of the country will force him to do so”.
Do All Irish People Support an Irexit?
However, the numbers coming from the most recent polls show that 70 percent of Irish citizens are not supporting a referendum on such issue. Mr.O’Cadhla is not denying this fact, but believes that this will change and more people would agree with him and his supporters in the coming years.
Meanwhile, him and his group of supporters try to do everything in their capacity, from weekly meetings, to setting up information stalls every weekend, to attract more supporters for their anti establishment cause. “We get mixed reactions from people, some people think we are mad but I think an increasing number of people appreciate it,” says the former general election nominee.
The revolt against what has been tested and used, has been observed in form of Brexit, Trump’s presidency in the United States, and the potential rise of far right in France, will Ireland be the next in this anti-establishment domino effect or not? O’Cadhla believes that since the “population of Britain shocked the world by voting in favour of Brexit and Americans did so by electing Trump” an Irexit cannot be an outlandish concept.
Abortion rights activists from all over Ireland, gathered round at Clarion Hotel Conference Room in Cork city today, to demand a repeal to the 8th amendment (the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution outlaws abortion in this country) and voice their frustrations over the growing rate of violence against women (a phenomenon that is also known as Femicide).
Polish, South Korean and Latin American Women Against Violence in Cork
Ms. Inga Wojcik of Poland was the first speaker of the panel, she started her speech by remembering the abortion rights movement in Poland which inspired women in other parts of the world such as South Korea, Ireland and Latin America. She said that the massive Polish Anti Abortion Protest was mostly organized by Facebook groups , she described protesting such foreign notion to some people in Poland that some of them were wondering how does one even protest?
She said that although media portrayed the Polish protest as a massive victory but in her view nothing much has changed since. However she praised recent victories for women in places such as Turkey , in which a new bill which would allow rapists to marry their victims was repealed.
Ms. Melissa Lopez was the second speaker of the panel, who gave shocking statistics of women killed in Latin American Countries. She said that even though laws do exist that are seemingly in favor of women, but 98 percent of crimes against women remains unpunished.
According to Ms. Lopez women of Latin American countries are constantly harassed in the streets , and even the current president of Mexico (where Ms. Lopez is originally from) makes sexist comments on TV. She gave examples of some empowering protests such as a protest that was organized for a 15 year old girl who was beaten up and killed by her boyfriend in Mexico. In the end she expressed her content of the recent rise in feminist movements by stating :” Women in Latin America , are finally starting to speak up.”
The third speaker of the panel was Ms. Hyewon Choe from South Korea , whose speech was also accompanied by slides and a video of the black protest in South Korea on 29th of October.
She described South Korean society as a misogynistic one and criticized objectification of women by South Korean media . She went as far as saying that South Korean media even objectifies little girls. She also blames such culture for the rise in the rates of women who undergo plastic surgery in South Korea, something that according to Ms. Choe has dubbed Seoul the Capital of plastic surgery.
She said the abortion rights protest of 29th of October in South Korea was hugely influenced by Polish Protest, she said that she was devastated to find out that she had left her own country to live in a better place such as Ireland, only to find out that abortion laws are even more restrict in her new country. At the end she spoke of hope and tangible progresses.
The final speaker of the panel was Ms. Fiona Ryan, from Ireland Socialist party who describes herself as a “Socialist Feminist” . She started her speech by quoting David Quinn who is a key figure of the IONA institution in Ireland (Conservative Catholic Group), who had said :” If the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution would be repealed, the next step would be the rise of Socialists.” Something that Ms. Ryan described as a heartwarming truth. She said that the two major political parties in Ireland are not doing enough for pushing the abortion rights agenda, even those such as TD Kate O’Connell of Fine Gael Party who seems to be pro-abortion does not support this cause in practice. Even members of the Sinn Fein Party who are pro-choice are saying that they only support abortion when it comes to pregnancies that might endange mother’s life. However she also spoke of slow progresses and hoped for a referendum on the Issue in 2018 (the year that Pope Francis is going to visit Ireland).
A Brief History of Abortion Rights in Ireland
Ireland is a country which follows United Kingdom policies on most issues but when it comes to abortion, Irish people have to go their British neighbor to abort their unwanted children. Years ago a teenager who threatened to kill herself if she wouldn’t get an abortion, made the judges to rule for an abortion in a decision known as the “Legislation X”, (the girl miscarried anyway). However, it did not happen in the case of Savita Halappanavar a 31-year-old woman whose life could’ve been saved if she would’ve been allowed an abortion.
Activists in Ireland are pressing the government to repeal the 8th amendment, for many years, hopefully after the legalization of gay marriage, the time will come for this taboo to break as well.