4 March 2004 Edition
An alternative globalisation is possible
Dublin TD and International Affairs spokesperson for Sinn Féin Aengus Ó Snodaigh opened the International motions debate. This year, they dealt with globalisation and solidarity; the oppression suffered by Tibet's inhabitants under Chinese occupation; the war against and the occupation of Iraq and the situation of the prisoners in US's Army base of Guantanamo Bay; opposition to the construction of the Apartheid Wall on Palestinian land and the continuous violence suffered by its people on the hands of the Israeli occupiers; support for Bretons and Catalans, and Basques in their struggle for self-determination; denunciation of the situation suffered by trade unionists in Colombia at the hands of corporations like Coca-Cola and the Colombian Government; and opposition to the boycott against Cuba and support for the release of the Miami 5.
Ó Snodaigh's called for an alternative globalisation that will leave behind the economic interests of financial institutions and big corporations, and uphold human rights. He pointed out how the European Union is speeding its plans to build the European Rapid Reaction Force on the back of the so-called "War on terror" and the invasion of Iraq. "Sinn Féin believes that the international community have got their priorities wrong for those people who are living in poverty and dying in poverty in the world today".
He said that the fulfilment of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals — aimed at halving poverty — should be the top priority internationally when it comes to spending.
On similar issue, Míchéal Mac Donncha congratulated republicans for their role and presence at the demonstrations against the War on Iraq and the Dublin Government decision to allow the continued use of Shannon Airport by the US military. "Only last week we saw a photograph of that harsh warmonger Ronald Rumsfeld standing on a chair in Shannon Airport addressing his troops in our airport. It is a shame and a disgrace."
Mary Nelis MLA spoke in support of a motion examining the possibility of organising a boycott of Spanish goods and holidays in protest at the Spanish Government's failure to negotiate peace with the Basque people and the Spanish Government's violation of human rights.
The Derry retiring MLA deplored the Spanish government's negative attitude to negotiations with the Basque nationalists around the issue of self-determination; the banning of Batasuna; the closure of Basque media; the imprisonment and harassment of Basque journalists; the banning of Basque youth organisations and the threat against human rights lawyers.
Eoin Ó Broin endorsed what Mary Nelis said about the Basque Country and welcomed the Catalan delegation, members of the pro-independence party ERC, that has joined the Catalan regional government and whose leader met with ETA to try an push an agenda for negotiations and was promptly vilified by the Spanish media.
He supported the motion calling for Sinn Féin's boycott of the World Economic Forum, which he described as "an annual gathering of political and economic leaders from around the world whose sole function is to promote a pro-business, pro-globalisation agenda of neo-liberalism".
"It may not have institutional or governmental power, but the agenda that it is promoting is forcing millions of people around the world to live in abject poverty without social or political rights", added O Broin, who called for participation in the alternative World Social Forum. Daisy Mules, from Derry, also highlighted how the WEF is an unelected, exclusive, invite-only organisation, an elite think-tank and a driving force behind the global economy. The boycott against the World Economic Forum was supported a majority of the delegates.
Ray O'Reilly and South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane spoke against the Apartheid Wall being erected in Palestinian land. Ruane called on the Dublin Government to take action against the Irish company Cement Roadstone Holdings, which owns the Israeli company that is supplying the cement for the barrier.