Archive for March, 2011

The rise of the French far-right: Front National wins 15% of the vote in local elections.
March 27, 2011

In the recent French local elections, the far-right Front National, under the leadership of ‘la fille’ Le Pen, Marine, polled 15% of the vote, their highest ever percentage. This is attributable in part to the fact that voting turnout in all elections is continuing to decline, but it is reflective nonetheless of a few social trends which are obvious to anyone who’s taken an interest in French politics and society over the past few years.

Firstly, the ethnic card and islamophobia in general has become part of the armoury of conservative politicians of every hue and colour. Sarkozy was elected thanks to a campaign which saw him consciously seeking, and winning, support from the far-right for his programme of privatisations and law and order politics. He was already a popular figure among them thanks to his infamous ‘racaille’ speech during the 2005 banlieue riots, but since the crisis has hit, this card has been played more conscientiously. For instance, in October and November 2009, when protest movements on the issues of the La Poste and SNCF privatisations and education reforms were starting to organise, Sarkozy and Besson (the interior minister) sought to cut across them by first of all scapegoating the ‘sans-papiers’ with the destruction of the Jungle at Calais, and then through their odious ‘national identity’ debate which turned into a muslim-baiting exercise. On top of this, Sarko has come out in support of the Swiss minaret ban and for the banning of the veil, something which has gone down well with the supporters of the far-right but which has also dragged islamophobic politics into the mainstream and legitimised the FN and their fellow travellers. Sarkozy has a heavy responsibility to bear for their rise- people who might have voted for him now have no problem voting for the FN as they’re getting the same policies.

The second key issue is the decline of the far-left vote, which played a certain role in the past in attracting votes from the unemployed away from the far-right. The high point for the far left was the 2005 regional elections, where the combined vote of the LO (Lutte Ouvriere- a trotskyist outfit, which has a cultish reputation) and the LCR (Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire- trotskyists too but quite softer than other trotskyist groups and with a reputation on the left similar to that of the SWP here and in the UK) topped 10%. Since then, the LCR has dissolved and formed what was hoped to be a new workers party, the NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste), which despite promising beginnings has since flopped due to lack of a clear programme and serious internal arguments over the future direction and matters of day-to-day importance such as electoral work, which has seen splits and has dragged the party down. At present, there is no viable left alternative, which has played a role in the vote won by the FN in places like the Pas de Calais, which is impoverished due to unemployment and would make a good base for the left if they were better organised in the area.

These are some of the key factors behind the emergence of the FN as a force to be reckoned with in French politics. This debate is relevant to us as well because we’ve seen attempts to set up far-right movements here in recent times, and as the crisis deepens thanks to the continuing cuts and bailouts, the possible foundation of a far-right party is something that should be taken seriously by the left. At the moment, many of the conditions for the emergence of such a far-right movement are in place: swift and sudden economic collapse, high and rising unemployment, strong undercurrents of racism (evidenced in the 2004 Citizenship Referendum), the choking off of emigration (which previously served as a safety valve) by the global nature of the crisis, and fear of dispossession & pauperisation among the middle classes of this country. A strong and united left, which is the best insurance against such a movement, does not presently exist in this country, notwithstanding the gains made by the ULA in the recent election. Unless the left can get its ass in gear and build a new political party capable of providing a clear and strong alternative, going beyond the sloganeering currently offered by the main left parties, then the conditions for the emergence of a far-right movement mentioned above could allow such a movement to crystallise and develop, notwithstanding the fact that it is historically unprecedented in the Southern state.…292847645.html

antiestablishmentarian 23/3/11

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Meltdown of the Ulster Unionist Party
March 26, 2011

The Ulster Unionist Party appears to be in meltdown approaching the 6C Assembly and local elections on 5th May.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey announced the cancellation of a planned building of a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin hospital in Derry on the last days sitting of the assembly before the elections.   All parties have come out to criticise the decision, which was to be part funded by the 26C government.

The DUP MLA Jim Wells, said there was no case for postponement.

“The Altnagelvin radiotherapy unit was treated specially and differently from any other project.   The finance minister allocated the £27m and ring-fenced it to health.   The Fine Gael-Labour government is committed to giving the money to Altnagelvin.  In addition, the Irish government have planned to fund a third of the revenue because there will be patients coming from Sligo, Donegal, and Leitrim to the new unit.  That means that the capital cost is effectively free to the department and a substantial part of the revenue is free.”

Earlier, the Irish Republic’s Health Minister, Dr James Reilly, said his government was still committed to providing 19m euros for capital costs and also ongoing funds.  He said the unit was an “ideal solution” for the radiotherapy needs of people from across the north-west of Ireland.

But not only is McGimpsey blaming financial constraint, he’s also blaming the 26C government.

His spokeperson claimed “He tried repeatedly to get a response from the southern government and got none.   So he could not go ahead and announce it because a third of the business case was not going to be approved.”

James O’Reilly has has refuted this saying he had made a number of attempts to clarify his position.

“I wrote to the minister yesterday,” he said.  “We had a number of attempted telephone calls which failed to materialise. I have restated very much the government’s commitment to the Altnagelvin facility and we look forward to this happening when the new government is formed up there.  But our position remains unchanged.   We are fully supportive of it.”

The UUP deputy chair has resigned in protest over McGimpsey’s  move, also noting it’s timing.   In a statement Mr Wright said his position had become “untenable” after what he described as an “ill-advised and untimely” decision by Michael McGimpsey.

If that’s not enough, three senior figures in the party have got themselves involved in a blazing row over whether or not they could accept Martin McGuinness as first minister in the next assembly should SF emerge as the largest party, unlikely as it is.   When interviewed by Steven Nolan, both John McCallister, deputy leader of the UUP assembly party, and Basil McCrea, senior party member and loser in the recent leadership contest, have said that if that was how people voted they would respect that outcome.  But David McNarry has come out all guns blazing and launched an amazing attack on both men live on the Nolan show.  He has accused both of stabbing ‘the leader’ in the back, said they could ‘leave the party tomorrow’ and wouldn’t be missed.
He also point blank refused to encourage people to vote for either man, members of his own party.

The podcast really is worth a listen, McNarry loses the plot….
(Nolan interviews McCallister and McCrea from 5 mins. in to 10 mins.
McNarry rings the show from 52 mins in to 1hr 28 mins. )…how_24_03_2011

That was yesterday and the three men have since met with party leader Tom Elliot claiming they had reached an agreed position and that the men had apologised to each other.  This has been denied by both McCallister and McCrea

And of course to top it all of we get to the sex scandal, although also a very serious matter.

A key advisor to UUP Stormont Minister Danny Kennedy has been sacked after boasting in an internet chat room of ‘abusing his position to influence policy for lobbyists in return for sexual favours.’  The Ulster Unionist politico, who is right at the heart of Government in Northern Ireland, described in a series of online conversations “grooming” lobbyists before suggesting to them that he could carry out their wishes in exchange for sexual favours.

The 40-year-old Special Adviser, Dr. Brian Crowe described himself as an “intellectual slut”.

All in all a disastrous few days for the UUP and with recent fairly high profile defections to the Alliance Party this could spell electoral wipe out for the UUP and ironically boast DUP votes ensuring Martin McGuinness doesn’t get the joint top job.

Moss  26.3.2011…#ixzz1HdSDURo9…#ixzz1HdUrR0J4

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Ireland – the past Tsunamis of 1755 & 1761 – and the future
March 13, 2011

I recall vaguely hearing of/learning about the “Lisbon” Earthquake of 1755 at some point in the past but never realised that “Tsunamis” in 1755 and again in 1761 were experienced in Ireland following the “Lisbon” Earthquakes of both 1755 and 1761. There does not appear to be very much information online as to whether the effects of the Earthquake of 1755 (epicentre being off the coast of Portugal) were “felt” in Ireland other than a reference I found to the subsequent “Lisbon” Earthquake of 1761, which alludes to the 1755 Earthquake …

“In Cork an earthquake was felt at a quarter after noon. Was considered to be more violent than that of 1 Nov. 1755”

RHISE VOL.1 – Moreira et al., Review of the historical seismicity in the Gulf of Cadiz….

Furthermore and seeing the “effects in Great Britain” of the 1755 Earthquake as detailed below would lend one to assume that there were surely direct effects experienced in Ireland at the time. In any event, the “Lisbon” Earthquake of 1755 was followed some hours later by a Tsunami which hit the Cork Coast and which is alleged to have extended along the West Coast as far as Galway Bay.

The subsequent Earthquake of 1761 (again epicentre off the coast of Portugal) was directly “felt” at least in the Southern part of this Country and again followed by a Tsunami some considerable number of hours later, which again hit the South Coast. There would appear to generally be scant information available with regard as to how the Tsunami of 1755 affected this Country but even less information available as regards how the 1761 Tsunami affected. Therefore the following  details are mainly of the Tsunami of 1755 and as to how it is said to have affected this country.


There is much written on the 1755 “Lisbon” Earthquake which is estimated to have been a magnitude 8.5 – 9 quake which occurred at approx 9.40 am on 1st November, 1755. What unfolded at Lisbon can be easily be sought and read online. I shall simply use a part and rather colourful quote from one Sir Charles Lyell who later described this earthquake and it’s consequences generally, as I’m specifically concerned/interested in the after effects of this 1755 Earthquake in so far as they affected this Country;

(Sir Charles Lyell (14th November 1797 – 22nd February 1875) was a Scottish Lawyer and Geologist (said to be the foremost Geologist of his day) and an influence on a young Charles Darwin). If interested, background information on Sir Charles Lyell is contained here: Charles Lyell – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“In no part of the volcanic region of Southern Europe has so tremendous an earthquake occurred in modern times as that which began on the 1st of November, 1755, at Lisbon. A sound of thunder was heard underground, and immediately afterwards a violent shock threw down the greater part of that city. In the course of about six minutes, sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired and laid the bar dry; it then rolled in, rising fifty feet above its ordinary level. The mountains of Arrabida, Estrella, Julio, Maravan, and Cintra, being some of the largest in Portugal, were impetuously shaken, as it were, from their very foundations; and some of them opened at their summits, which were split and rent in a wonderful manner, huge masses of them being thrown down into the subjacent valleys. Flames are reported to have issued from these mountains, which are supposed to have been electric; they are also said to have smoked; but vast clouds of dust may have given rise to this appearance. . . .

“The great area over which this Lisbon earthquake extended is very remarkable. The movement was most violent in Spain, Portugal, and the north of Africa; but nearly the whole of Europe, and even the West Indies, felt the shock on the same day. A seaport called St. Ubes, about twenty miles south of Lisbon, was engulfed. At Algiers and Fez, in Africa, the agitation of the earth was equally violent, and at the distance of eight leagues from Morocco, a village, with the inhabitants to the number of about eight or ten thousand persons, together with all their cattle, were swallowed up. Soon after, the earth closed again over them.

“The shock was felt at sea, on the deck of a ship to the west of Lisbon, and produced very much the same sensation as on dry land. Off St. Lucar, the captain of the ship ‘Nancy’ felt his vessel shaken so violently that he thought she had struck the ground, but, on heaving the lead, found a great depth of water. Captain Clark, from Denia, in latitude 36 degrees 24′ N., between nine and ten in the morning, had his ship shaken and strained as if she had struck upon a rock. Another ship, forty leagues west of St. Vincent, experienced so violent a concussion that the men were thrown a foot and a half perpendicularly up from the deck. In Antigua and Barbados, as also in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Corsica, Switzerland, and Italy, tremors and slight oscillations of the ground were felt.

“The agitation of lakes, rivers, and springs in Great Britain were remarkable. At Loch Lomond, in Scotland, for example, the water, without the least apparent cause, rose against its banks, and then subsided below its usual level. The greatest perpendicular height of this swell was two feet four inches. It is said that the movement of this earthquake was undulatory, and that it traveled at the rate of twenty miles a minute. A great wave swept over the coast of Spain, and is said to have been sixty feet high in Cadiz. At Tangier, in Africa, it rose and fell eighteen times on the coast; at Funchal, in Madeira, it rose full fifteen feet perpendicular above high-water mark, although the tide, which ebbs and flows there seven feet, was then at half ebb. Besides entering the city and committing great havoc, it overflowed other seaports in the island. At Kinsale, in Ireland, a body of water rushed into the harbour, whirled round several vessels, and poured into the marketplace.”

County Cork – Kinsale/Innishannon

As per the Site of the Irish Marine Institute: On November 1st, 1755, a series of tsunamis lasting more than seven hours tore at the south west coast of Ireland, “wrecking fishing boats around Kinsale” and “even damaging coastal buildings as far north as Galway Bay” Major Conference to Discuss Tsunami Warning Systems

Damage is alleged to have been caused to the harbour in Kinsale, of which no actual details appear to be available online.

An interesting “Informal Report” appears to have been prepared by a William H. Berninghausen, titled “Tsunamis and Seismic Seiches Reported from the Western North and South Atlantic and the Coastal Waters of Northwestern Europe” (Sept 1968 – US Naval Oceanographic Office) …

A Seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays and seas. The key requirement for formation of a seiche is that the body of water be at least partially bounded, allowing the formation of the standing wave. Seiches can also be induced by tsunamis, a wave train (series of waves) generated in a body of water by a pulsating or abrupt disturbance that vertically displaces the water column. On occasion, tsunamis can produce seiches as a result of local geographic peculiarities.

Berninghausen in this Report states that a Seiche(s) occurred very shortly after the “Lisbon” Earthquake in 1755 in Cork and the “sea was much agitated” (see page 30). He goes on to state with regard to the subsequent Tsunami that at Kinsale Harbour between “3 and 4 pm, the water came over the quay with such violence as to throw many people down” (see page 32). There are numerous References/Sources mentioned by Berninghausen and these can be read at the end of either of the above pdf links pages 37 – 44.

Following on from this, I attempted to see if there was further mention of this tsunami in the Kinsale area and was astounded to come across an entry regarding Innishannon in Wikipedia. The Village of Innishannon lies between Cork City and Bandon and on the River Bandon. The River Bandon flows into the sea relatively close to Kinsale Town and the River is tidal pretty much up as far as Innishannon.

The entry in Wikipedia states;

“The Innishannon bridge which crosses the Bandon river has been present in various incarnations since the 1600s. The original bridge was destroyed in the tidal wave backlash that swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. The wave swept up the River Bandon, causing destruction and killing thousands from Kinsale and up along the river. The River Bandon, originally navigable to Bandon town, for the first English settlers, was permanently lowered to a much lower water level, making further down-river Collier’s key the closest reachable port.”

Innishannon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I am not at all sure where this info on Wiki about the “wave” sweeping up the Bandon Estuary/River from the Kinsale area, destroying the Bridge at Innishannon, killing “thousands from Kinsale/up along the river” and making part of the river thereafter un-navigable came from. There is no reference document alluded to on the Wiki page. There are numerous other Websites online giving the same basic details but as to where the information comes from I have not been able to ascertain. I’ve never heard of this before now, having a long held interest in matters generally of a historical nature in Cork. Lyell referred to a body of water rushing into the Harbour in Kinsale (which would have certainly have travelled some way up the Bandon Estuary/River).

Berninghausen refers to people being “thrown down” in Kinsale, but it’s a rather dramatic jump for the Wiki entrant to state that “thousands from Kinsale and up along the river” were killed. That’s NOT to say it didn’t actually happen, I just haven’t seen written evidence of this occurring elsewhere online or from past knowledge of Cork historical affairs.

Samuel Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837 is an excellent publication giving details of numerous places in Ireland in 1837 and often gives some brief prior history of such place. This came out some 80 years or so after the events of 1755 and nowhere is there any mention of either of the 1755 and 1761 Tsunamis in either the Articles relating to Kinsale or Innishannon. I would have thought that if thousands were killed in 1755 that it should at least have merited a mention in Lewis’ articles – but perhaps he was sticking to the present day with some of the past varied history of those places thrown in for good measure;

Lewis Topographical Dictionary – Kinsale
Lewis Topographical Dictionary – Innishannon

Update – 7th May 2009 … Since originally posting the above, I contacted Kinsale History Society and a Member of the Society was good enough to reply very quickly to me by email to confirm that they believed that the account as given in this Wikipedia Article regarding Innishannon might not at all be accurate as the accounts given in the various histories of Cork do not mention any casualties of such a nature.

I attempted to see if I could find some other information online as to whether there was ever such a “watery deluge” alleged to have travelled up along the Bandon Estuary/River having firstly entered the Harbour at Kinsale and sadly without much success. But I did come across the following, which seems interesting, or perhaps just coincidental;

Glebe House & Coach House Apartments

This property, which is in the vicinity of Ballinadee Village, is also close to the Bandon Estuary, along which this Tsunami/tidal wave allegedly surged and up the Bandon River to Innishannon. A Map indicating the property’s position is here;

Glebe House & Coach House Apartments

Most interesting to note as per the property owner’s Website that this property “is close to the wooded banks of the Bandon Estuary, and to the Heritage town of Kinsale”, that is was “built in 1690” and was “repaired in 1755” the self same year this Tsunami hit Kinsale and allegedly travelled up as far as Innishannon. But perhaps the property was simply being repaired for the first time in any event in 85 years which just happened to occur in 1755, the same year as a Tsunami allegedly hit the area. Quite a coincidence.

The Wiki entry also states that: “The River Bandon, originally navigable to Bandon town, for the first English settlers, was permanently lowered to a much lower water level, making further down-river Collier’s key the closest reachable port.” Collier’s Key (aka Collier’s Quay) is situate approx 1 – 2 miles downstream from Innishannon.

One of the earliest written references to Innishannon is contained in the Book of Leinster which was written circa the 12th Century, in which it is reported that in 837 AD Innishannon was ransacked and plundered by Viking pirates who came up the Estuary of the River Bandon.

Samuel Lewis in his 1837 Account states of Innishannon that “… its situation on the river, which is navigable for vessels of 200 tons’ burden up to Colliers’ quay, and for lighters into the town” Lewis Topographical Dictionary – Innishannon

This is a present day image of the surrounds of Collier’s Quay 1-2 miles below Innishannon: Panoramio – Photo of view from Colliers Quay, Innishannon, Cork, Eire.

To give upstream distances along the route of the actual Bandon River and Estuary itself as and from where it exits close to Kinsale up to Innishannon itself;

Innishannon – approx 8 miles upstream
Ballinadee (where Glebe County House is located) approx 4 miles upstream
Collier’s Quay – approx 6/7 miles upstream

County Cork – Castlefreke/Rosscarbery

It is alleged that the sand dunes at Long Strand, Castlefreke were created as a result of the 1755 Tsunami. Long Strand lies between Clonakilty and Rosscarbery to the South and on the Coast

.Panoramio – Photo of view from Colliers Quay, Innishannon, Cork, Eire.

It is also alleged that the sand deposits now in place from anknown as the Warren to Rosscarbery are a result of the 1755 Tsunami. Warren Beach today is approx 1 mile from Rosscarbery itself.

An image of the Warren area today:…rren-Beach.jpg

County Cork – Barleycove

Barleycove is situated close to Mizen Head and the nearest Villages would be Crookhaven or Goleen.

Again, it is alleged that the Sand Dunes at Barleycove were a direct result of the 1755 Tsunami.

An image of Barleycove and the Dunes:

(Personally, I would know each and every one of the above mentioned locations referred to in County Cork reasonably well, having visited all of them on many occasions over the years. It makes more of an interesting slant indeed for me to now consider that there is the possibility that this 1755 Tsunami allegedly may have played quite a part in the shaping of such locations!)

County Clare

Allegedly the Clare Champion Newpaper has previously reported that “deep and yawning chasms” were carved out along the Clare coastline at Killomoran, Caherglissane, Gort and Kinvara acting as testament of the great Lisbon earthquake in 1755 and furthermore that a castle at Coranroe on the north coast of Clare was also destroyed. I do not have any link to the Clare Champion re this, only the following Site: Past Tsunamis

It is also alleged that Aughinish Island in County Clare was created as a direct result of the 1755 Tsunami having previously been part of the Clare mainland. Uniquely in Ireland, this present day Island is separated from its own County by sea, but is joined to another County by road, in the sense that a road to the island was built across a causeway from County Galway by the British for access to a Martello Tower constructed in fear of Napoleonic invasion (1804-1810). This is covered by David Walsh in his Book “Oileain” at page 119 – see here: Oileain: A Guide to the Irish Islands – Google Book Search

Here also is an image of the present day Pier at New Quay, Co. Clare with Aughinish Island to the right which was allegedly severed from the Clare mainland following the 1755 Tsunami Panoramio – Photo of DSC03393

To those who know of “Linnane’s Bar” in New Quay (a short distance into County Clare from Kinvarra) the Bar overlooks this self same Pier and the land across the narrow stretch of waterway is Aughinish Island.

County Galway – Galway City

The 1755 Tsunami which hit Ireland is also said to have entered Galway Bay and allegedly caused damaged to the Spanish Arch(es) in Galway.


(Details and information are relatively scant as are contained below)

On March 31st 1761, there occurred another “Lisbon” Earthquake, with an epicentre again West/Southwest of Lisbon. There are theories that this was related to the 1755 Earthquake and also theories that it was not and that it was an independent occurrence.

The effects of this Earthquake were to have been “felt” in Ireland – “In Cork an earthquake was felt at a quarter after noon. Was considered to be more violent than that of 1 Nov. 1755” RHISE VOL.1 – Moreira et al., Review of the historical seismicity in the Gulf of Cadiz…

As per the Publication “The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake – Revisited” by Luiz Mendes-Victor, Carlos Sousa Oliveira, Joao Azevedo and A. Ribeiro “The 1761 earthquake was felt widely onland from southern Ireland in the North ….”;

The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake – Revisited – Google Book Search (see page 137)

What followed in any event after the 1761 “Lisbon” Earthquake was the 1761 Tsumani which hit the South Coast of Ireland.

Another online source states “The 31 March 1761 earthquake was felt in Lisbon at noon, alarming the inhabitants and throwing down ruins of the past 1 November 1755 earthquake. According to several sources the earthquake was followed by a tsunami that was observed as far as Cornwall (United Kingdom), Cork (Ireland)”: In Search of the 31 March 1761 Earthquake and Tsunami Source — Baptista et al. 96 (2): 713 — Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

Another source states generally as concerning how this tsunami affected the South Coast of Ireland that “At Kinsale, at about 6pm, the sea rose suddenly 2 ft. and repeated rapidly in 4 min, this being repeated, though to a less extent, several times. At Carrick, at 4pm, the surface of the river Suir rose 1 ft. in 5 minutes. At Dungarvan, the sea ebbed and flowed five times between 4 and 9pm. At Waterford, the sea advanced 30 ft. along the shore, while at Ross (Co. Wexford) – perhaps this means “New Ross”???? a violent agitation of the river occurred at 7pm.” Tsunami Event


From the limited information available to hand online (and quite possibly limited information in every sense) it would appear that the Tsunami of 1755 dramatically affected this country. If details online are to be believed, it resulted in considerable deaths (if the unsubstantiated Wiki entry re Innishannon, Co. Cork were to be believed) and also a dramatic reshaping of the coastal outlines of the South and West of this Country.

Indeed, the following is also interesting which relates to the Dublin area specifically … “The harbour was tidal and required constant dredging. Nevertheless, it was continually improved and in the course of the century the banks of the Liffey were lined first with wooden and then, after 1755, with stone quays.” History of the Irish Parliament Online – Ulster Historical Foundation

Why was it after “1755” specifically, as per the above link and article, that the banks of the Liffey were lined with stone quays instead of wooden quays? Was it as a direct result of what was experienced in the Country following the Tsunami which hit the Southern and Western Coasts in 1755?

From the very limited information available, it would seem that the Tsunami of 1761 did not have the same adverse effects in this Country as the Tsunami of 1755.

Fast forwarding to recent times and no doubt posters here remember the 2004 “St. Stephen’s Day – 26/12/04” Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent Tsunami(s) which resulted in the loss of lives heading towards a quarter of a million. I was on vacation in California at the time and remember the morbid repetitive and overkill US Television Accounts which went on for days and also walking down to the very nearby Santa Cruz Beach to “experience” the remnants of the agitated waters lapping harmlessly against the shore.

As of 2007, Ireland was to examine setting up a tsunami early warning system, even though such a threat was believed to be remote. Min. Noel Dempsey stated that it would involve representatives of a number of ministries and state agencies like the meteorological service, the geological survey office and the marine institute. He continued on to say that “although the probability of a tsunami along Irish coastlines is statistically very small, the EU has decided to ‘fast track’ a number of initiatives aimed at predicting such events” Ireland Examines Tsunami Early Warning System

And as per the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) Site in the sense of the up to date present version as per their Site online:

“Since the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, considerable international attention has been directed at establishing an effective international warning system for the world’s oceans and seas. The International Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO has established an Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Tsunami Warning System (NEAMTWS) to deliver an initial system in the Mediterranean by end 2007 and a system for the whole region by 2011, which will focus on linking up existing national systems. GSI represents Ireland in this group. In parallel with this process, Ireland is working towards developing its national TWS capability.

Following discussion at the February 2005 meeting of the Government Taskforce on Emergency Planning, the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) was mandated to develop a concept for a tsunami warning system for Ireland in conjunction with other interested stakeholders, both national and international. The concept developed was approved at the meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning in October 2006. The Government has recently mandated the setting up of an inter-Departmental committee to develop a fully designed and costed proposal. The committee will be chaired by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources with representation from Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Department of Education and Science, Department of Defence, and Department of Finance. A technical group will comprise GSI, the Marine Institute, Met Eireann and Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The team is expected to complete the proposal and submit it to Government for approval later in 2007.

In an Irish context, tsunamis are low probability events that would have very significant impacts. Damaging tsunamis could affect Ireland from several geologically feasible scenarios. For example, recent modelling of a Lisbon earthquake scenario, conducted jointly with the UK, predicts waves up to 4m high along the south Irish coast. The proposed warning system could provide alerts up to four hours before a tsunami might reach our coastline. Its benefits for an informed public in such circumstances are obvious and very significant.”

GSI Web – Tsunami warning system for Ireland

In modern times, the most perceived possibility of another Tsunami affecting Ireland would appear to come from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canaries. Researchers claim that the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano might be caused to cave in after an eruption, sending a huge mass of rock, twice the size of the Isle of Man, crashing into the sea and unleashing an immense tsunami which would fan out across the Atlantic at speeds of up to 800 kmph. After 10 minutes, the wall of water would have moved almost 250 kilometres. The other Canaries and the West Saharan shore would be worse affected with waves of 100 metres from crest to trough. Florida and the Caribbean would be hit by waves of 50 metres some 8 to 9 hours after the landslide. Brazil would be hit by waves as high as 40 m. The Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal, France and Britain (and presumably factor in Ireland) would also be affected by waves as high as 10 metres.

But this may never happen in our lifetime (although this particular instance will almost certainly occur sometime, whenever that is). Plus of course one must factor in unforeseen occurrences which no-one can be aware of which may occur …. anywhere

Plus of course, one would hope … in modern times .. that if an event does occur … that we shall be forewarned of an impending Tsunami with some hours forenotice.

And to FINALLY conclude, have a read of an “experiment” as was commissioned by Defra, the Health and Safety Executive and the Geological survey of Ireland;

Executive summary

Ah Well   13.3.2011

What are the Core Fianna Faíl Principles ?
March 13, 2011

Since Martin took over, there has been a much vaunted talk about returning to core principles which were supposedly embodied in the cumainn of the party. The problem with this approach is that the cumainn have been shattered by the events of the past 20 years. In Limerick, Willie O’Dea’s control of it has brought the organisation to its knees- in the space of 20 years it has declined from 5 cumainn across the city to half a cumainn, which doubles as Willies canvassing team, plus a few assorted hangers-on. In Connemara, FF is nothing more than drinking buddies of Fahey or O’Caoimh, or hangers on of assorted councillors like Séamus Walsh. FF has been reduced to a motley collection of localised electoral machines similar to Clann na Talmhan when it broke up.

The problem for FF is that the class which made up its base has disappeared. FF was founded on a base of smaller rural farmers who were opposed to FG but who were conservative and catholic nonetheless. That class has disappeared (more or less) forced out by emigration or the sheer economic problems of trying to run a small farm in an area of poor land- one need only take the example of the BMW counties which were always FF strongholds until recently. Their urbanised descendants would generally have continued voting FF (something which perhaps explains the problems Labour had in the capital until recently), but as time passed the connection with roots waned and class issues came more to the forefront. This could be papered over by FF resorting to traditional catholic positions (as they did in the 1980s) so long as the Church remained a political force, or through posturing as an economically competent and social minded populist party (Bertie and the bubble generation) when these traditional allegiances waned, even as the stench of corruption remained strong.

The problem is now, where are FF going to rebuild and what principles can they adhere to that might give them a niche in the Dáil and the prospect of recovering? FG are a hardline Thatcherite party (for what is all this talk about ‘strong leadership’ but wistful day-dreaming about the good old days when Maggie smashed the unions), Labour are neo-liberals with a social-democrat veneer, SF have staked out the nationalist /republican vote, and the catholic fringe has been reduced to a handful of nutters who think FF are pro-abortion pinko commies or who are too old to provide a viable future base, while the idea that FF could be a credible opposition force challenging the government on economic or political management (ie a revert to the ideology of power and its competent exercise) is ludicrous. Given that the base on which they were founded has deserted them, it seems to me that FF will disappear and that it’s only long term future is as individual constituency machines for politicians of the Healy-Rae/McConalogue variety.

Antiestablishmentarian    13.3.2011


Confessions Of A Parliamentary Secretary
March 5, 2011

Somebody once observed that people don’t elect representatives, they sell their vote in exchange for a house, job or having a pot hole filled. So, once elected, of course TDs don’t have to give a moment’s thought to what people want them to do.

I spent my time as a Dáil secretary doing such work as getting mammy a hospital bed, getting grandad sheltered accommodation, getting daughter into local authority housing, moving family out of flat into house, querying social welfare claims, and wow, writing the odd speech for the T.D. when he managed to get two minutes of time allocated in the Chamber.

Hundreds of phone calls a day are about all of the above. No one rang, wrote, in latter days, emailed about national issues. 6 filing cabinets was the norm in each office per T.D. Storage boxes were used for Dáil contributions, or P.Q.s.

Until the whole system is changed, it will go on forever. Who has the nerve to change the system? I don’t know.

The very last case I dealt with in that job was a man who rang to say he had been waiting for the corporation to put a toilet chain on his cistern because the old one had broken, and he had been waiting for 3 weeks. On my way home, I went into McGovern’s in Cork Street, bought a toilet chain for €2, brought it round to the elderly man’s ancient flat. Went in, climbed up on toilet, took broken chain down and slipped new one on. The man was nearly kissing my feet as I made my escape. It helped me doing that because it reinforced for me that I had total burn-out and I could not stand the master/serf syndrome that pervades this country.

Buddha 05.03.2011
Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental

Christy Walsh – a 21 Year campaign for personal justice
March 3, 2011

After a twenty one year campaign to prove his innocence, March 2011 Christy Walsh is putting the British legal system on trial in a case to be heard in Court in Belfast. Already proven “not guilty” on his third Appeal in 2011, but deemed “not proven innocent”, Christy Walsh refused to accept that slur on his character. At the end of the Appeal, he crossed the Court Room and took a Prosecution file into his possession…

Christy Walsh, from West Belfast, was arrested 1991 for possession of coffee jar bomb. He had no paramilitary associations and no previous convictions, and was inarguably of good character. Christy was wrongly convicted in a Diplock (no jury) Court in 1992 of possessing explosives (a coffee jar bomb). He was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He served 7 years in Crumlin Road and the Maze. He was released in 1998. He has campaigned for 20 years to clear his name.

In 2000 his case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. That appeal having failed, he appealed again and in January 2002 his conviction was upheld, even though the Court acknowledged the possibility that procedural irregularities might have amounted to an interference with his right to a fair trial. [1]

Following an unprecedented third appeal on the basis of new evidence, his conviction was overturned on 16 March 2010.[2][3]

British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) observed, “in sixteen years of observing the conflict in Northern Ireland, (we have) never witnessed another case in which so many of the safety nets in the criminal justice system have failed to work.”

There were a number of key issues that lead to Christy Walsh’s Appeal succeeding.

Nine months after Christy had been charged with the offence, a second soldier claimed that he also had seen Christy with the device. Six years after the Trial the second soldier retracted his Trial Testimony after an investigation established it to be “inherently unlikely”. The Court of Appeal requested that the soldier appear before the Court to explain why he “changed his story”. News 25Jan2007.pdf

The Prosecutor later informed the Court that this Solder could no longer be traced and thus prevented the Court or his legal team from exploring the Soldier’s claim to having been “coached” prior to testifying at Christy’s Trial.…ws2May2007.pdf

However, the Detective tasked to locate the soldier provided Christy’s legal team with a two page summary of how the soldier had been located. This conflicted with what the Prosecutor had told the Court.

Questions arose over the photographic evidence given to the Court at the time of the trial. A letter from the PPS denied that the photos had been withheld at the time of the trial and alleged that the Detective in charge of the case had only provided the PPS with them 18 years late.

The Prosecution Service says that there has been no impropriety. But after 18 years both Christy, and the Detective in charge of the investigation, learned that another prime suspect had been arrested at the same time as Christy, in the area where the coffee bomb was allegedly found. This man was described as a ‘top IRA man’ but was discretely released again after one day.

The Department of Justice (Northern Ireland Office NIO) now says that because the Appeal Judges did not “find (Christy Walsh) proven innocent” and because his appeal was not won on the basis of new evidence he is not entitled to compensation:

Under section 133 compensation is payable to an applicant where his “conviction has been
reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows
beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice”. Mr Walsh’s convictions were, we believe, “reversed” within the meaning of section 133, by the decision of the Court of Appeal on 16 March 2010. However we believe this was not based on a new, or newly di covered, fact.

Furthermore, we also believe that, even if there were a new or newly discovered fact, Mr Walsh has so far failed to establish that such a fact has shown beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice – in the sense that he is demonstrably innocent. The Court of Appeal only indicated “a significant sense of unease” about the safety of the trial verdict; it did not acknowledge that Mr Walsh was clearly innocent.

The application therefore does not appear to meet the necessary criteria of section 133 of the
Criminal Justice Act 1988, and we believe Mr Walsh is ineligible compensation.…w%20Branch.pdf

This places Christy Walsh in a “not proven innocent” category and is effectively viewed by him as a situation in which the NIO has passed a guilty verdict on him in the absence of the Courts.  He says that this would be like any Dail Minister’s aides having the power to say this person or that one was guilty – “why have courts?”

This is only a summary of events and much is left out. It’s a long and complex history of more than 20 years of an innocent man trying to establish his good name beyond doubt and obstructed by the authorities at every turn. At the end of this blog post there are links to other articles, videos and documents that fill in some of the detail of these years of effort.

I had believed before reading about his case that a person was considered innocent until proven guilty under British law: Christy Walsh’s case seems to turn the law and civil rights upside down.

C. Flower  1.3.2011


Christy Walsh – An update on my case

A court date has been set which will consider the right to a fair trial and which will be presented with evidence of unlawful conduct within the Northern Ireland legal system.

The new evidence was obtained at the close of my appeal hearing last March, when I took one of the Prosecutor’s files before leaving the courtroom.

Copies of the evidence were passed to the Chief Constable of the NI Police Service, Sir Matt Baggott. Chief Constable Baggott concluded that a criminal investigation could be carried out if a Police Officer had been involved in concealing the evidence, but not a Crown Prosecutor.

The matter was then passed to the NI Courts. Mr Justice Weatherup who will be dealing with this case has directed that “the Dept of Justice, the Chief Constable and the NIHRC should all appear as respondents and the PPS should be put on notice of the application. The case may be regarded as a criminal cause or matter that requires two Judges.”

The case will be heard on Monday 7th March 2011.
A significant portion of the case revolves around unchartered waters.
Judicial Reviews are usually only heard by one Judge and probably the majority of cases are civil actions (there will be two judges hearing the application). The case specifically relates to the Right to a Fair Trial –which I have never had –and beyond the unfairness of the Trial my conviction was, in law, an ‘unlawful conviction’ (which should equate to unlawful detention).

The Court has directed that “The case may be regarded as a criminal cause” –this is because the evidence suggests that the Prosecutor had fabricated the whole case as a ‘malicious prosecution’ (illegal detention from day one).

While the last Court of Appeal stated that a ‘top IRA man’ arrested on the same day as me was only arrested about 1 hour after my arrest; most documentation times this man’s arrest at 1:35pm (which is  15 minutes before I arrive at the scene). This man was taken away in an unmarked car –I have never seen an arrest made like that in west Belfast, ever. So possibly there had been some kind of undercover operation involved? I have a new forensic document which states that the device was originally recovered from this man’s home a little further up the Suffolk Road from the scene? [NOTE: It should be kept in mind that this man may well have been just as innocent as myself –nor might their be any basis to the claim that he was a “top IRA man”.] I simply do not know.

The big question is, will the Court order a criminal investigation into the Prosecutor’s conduct?

Will the Court re-instate my right to a fair trial, in which, the 2002 Court of Appeal concluded that an “exception” could be made with me. That verdict has never been specifically addressed by any Court to date. The Justice Minister, David Ford, is merely continuing a habit of violation of my Article 6 rights, and thus the case against him.
The Chief Constable owes me a duty of care and should have conducted some level of investigation based on the available evidence of serious crime having occurred.

The NIHRC have endorsed Carswell LCJ’s making an “exception” in my case by excluding me from my Convention right to a fair trial. The Commission has participated in the whole affair as a hostile silent witness. I will be seeking damages from them. (It should be remembered that the NIHRC is not a human rights NGO –it is empowered, by statute, to serve the public in the same way as any other public body, ie, social welfare, PSNI, the court services, transport dept, etc, etc…). The NIHRC operates as an academics semi-private diners’ club and has apparently spent 90% of their funding on themselves!!

Christy Walsh.

Background Material

There’s a short UTV video and interview here that shows the place where Christy Walsh was arrested and in which he explains what happened.…c-d5f7aed4b495
This is a BBC report on the case, with short video of Christy being interviewed – he says “There’s a common thread that the PPS is obstructing cases like Thomas Devlin’s and Robert Hamill’s and mine.”…nd/8570261.stm

This is Christy’s website – it gives detail of the conduct of the Prosecution and Courts.
A good thing to read first, to provide context –

UTV video shows the scene of the fit up.

“The Department of Justice say Christy has misunderstood and that there has been no impropriety. Christy asks why he wasn’t told at the time of the trial that a senior IRA man had been arrested in the area on the same day.”

This one is just about a soldier witness who couldn’t be found

BBC report on the case with short video of Christy
“There’s a common thread that the PPS is obstructing cases like Thomas Devine’s and Robert Hamill’s and mine”

Letter from the PPS denying that the photos had been withheld at the time of the trial

Department of Justice letter dated June 2010 – Christy not eligible for compensation as he won Appeal because of Judge’s “Sense of Unease” about the conviction – he was not proven innocent by new evidence.

Christy’s blog – it relates to the conduct of the prosecution and courts and is detailed.

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