Contact Declan Bree

Declan Bree

1 High Street
Republic of Ireland.

Tel:   071 9145490
Fax:  071 9145490



News & Current Issues

Here are some of the current issues.


Human rights activist addresses Sligo meeting

Israel's supposedly "defensive" attack on Lebanon last year and its assault on Hizbullah, in which more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed in a massive aerial bombardment that ended with Israel littering the south of Lebanon with over a million cluster bombs supplied by the U.S., was cast in a definitively different light last week by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ms Caoimhe Butterly, the Irish human rights activist told a public meeting in Sligo this week.

“The Israeli Prime Minister’s leaked testimony to the government commission  investigating the month-long war – confirms that he and his government had been preparing for such a war months before the capture by Hizbullah of two Israeli soldiers from a border post on the 12th July 2006.   It is now clear that Lebanon's devastation was clearly designed to teach both Hizbullah and the country's wider public a lesson."she said.  

She added: “The Israeli Prime Minister’s account now clarifies the confusing series of justifications for the war. 

“Last year, the official lines of the US and Israeli governments was that the destruction in Lebanon was due to two Israeli soldiers being taken prisoner and that a"shock and awe" campaign was needed to secure their release. 

“Then the Israeli army claimed that it was trying to stop Hizbullah's rocket strikes. But the Israeli bombing campaign targeted not only the rocket launchers but much of Lebanon, including Beirut, leaving most of the critical infrastructure of Lebanon in smoldering ruins.  The bombings included electrical stations, fuel storage depots, gas stations, hospitals, ambulance convoys, ports, factories, bridges and roads. 

“And finally we were offered variations on the theme that ended the fighting: the need to push Hizbullah and, incidentally, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilians away from the Lebanese border with Israel. 

“It was very clear that when Hizbullah captured the two soldiers, the Israeli government could have negotiated their return.  Hizbullah made clear from the outset that it wanted to exchange the soldiers for a number of Lebanese prisoners still in Israeli jails.  But, of course, as we now know, Israel was not interested in talks or in halting its bombing campaign. That was not part of its plan.  

“Articles in the U.S. press published last year soon after the outbreak of the war, revealed that the Israeli army had been readying for a wide-ranging assault on Lebanon for years, and had a specific plan for a "Three-Week War" that they had shared with Washington think-tanks and US officials.” Ms Butterly said. 

Sligo’s former Mayor, Cllr Declan Bree, told the meeting that energy production and consumption were at the centre of America’s international relations.  

“The US depends utterly on the access to essential energy resources and untapped markets secured over years of aggressive imperialism.  It will not give this up without further struggle, despite recent setbacks. With oil production expected to peak in as little as a decade, and developing countries demanding an increasing share, America’s need for unrivalled control over energy-rich regions and their economies is more critical than ever. 

“Its need to consolidate its power in the Middle East and Central Asia through a policy of divide and rule will prolong and deepen divisions in the region and especially place further obstacles in the way of a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.  

“Essentially, energy production and consumption are at the centre of America’s international relations. Indeed people now fully realise that the real reason for the war in Iraq and for the continued American support for the Israeli regime, is that the US wants to control the oil supplies of the Middle East.” said Cllr Bree.




The Chairman of the Western Regional Health Forum, Cllr Declan Bree, has described the Government proposal to provide public lands at our hospitals for the construction of private hospitals as a ‘scandal’.

“The Government has no mandate for this plan.  It was never put before the people in an election manifesto by either Fianna Fáil or the P.D.’s.    It was not included in the Programme for Government nor was it in the National Health Strategy.” said Cllr Bree.

“Essentially what Mary Harney is proposing to do is give hundreds of millions of euro in tax breaks to profit-seeking speculators and developers, to build for-profit private hospitals.  

“The H.S.E. recently carried out a procurement exercise on behalf of the Government, to select certain consortia to build and operate private hospitals on eight public hospital sites.   These include two hospitals in the Western Region, Sligo General Hospital and University Hospital Galway.
“There is huge opposition to the Governments plan.   The Regional Health Forum West, which is representative of every county and city Council from here to Limerick, unanimously adopted a motion condemning the Governments proposal to make public hospital lands available for private hospitals and Sligo County Council has on three occasions over the past 12 months adopted motions opposing the Governments proposals.

“At the recent conference of the Irish Medical Organisation, doctors committed to the public health service, as opposed to those who see health as a source of speculation or profit, questioned Government policy in facilitating private hospitals with generous tax breaks and other concessions.

”Currently the Government pays nearly €40 million for every €22 million invested in private hospitals through the tax incentive schemes for private hospitals, achieving no share and no control.” Cllr Bree said.

“This plan will not only pour money into the pockets of millionaires at the expense of ordinary tax-payers and public hospital patients and staff alike, it will also further institutionalise the two-tier health system.

“Mary Harney and the Government now seem determined to force this plan through and enter into binding agreements and contracts with the developers in advance of the general election.

“It should be obvious to everyone that the provision of lands at public hospitals for the use of the private sector is part of a deliberate policy of privatisation of health and other public services, driven by greed, corporate globalisation and neoliberalism.

“If we are to avoid the American experience of healthcare being bought and sold as a commodity, then we must oppose these proposals to provide public hospital lands for private hospital developments.” said Cllr Bree.



People of Erris an Inspiration

“This is a beautiful wild area on the edge of the Atlantic ocean and I can well understand and appreciate why the local community would want to protect their environment from Shell or any other multinational.” Cllr Declan Bree told OceanFM radio this morning

“The people of Erris are very proud of their heritage and they clearly want to protect and maintain their natural environment and pass it on to the next generation as it was handed to them.

“As your listeners will be aware local residents here in Bellanaboy and Rossport, have been holding daily protest marches here every morning, for the past couple of years, to highlight their opposition to the Shell project. They assemble here every morning at 7.30 or so and despite the odds they have refused to be intimidated

“When Shell decided to proceed with the refinery hundreds of gardai were moved into the area and they are now stationed here on a semi permanent basis.

“I find it amazing that the Minister for Justice can justify keeping so many guards here in a rural part of Ireland where there has been little or no crime over the years.

“The local people who protest here every morning are ordinary decent people, farmers, housewives, fishermen, teachers - and when they leave their homes they have to face this mass of gardai who are basically acting as security guards for the Shell multinational

“To all intents and purposes this is a community under siege.

“However it’s also obvious to me from my visits here that the majority of gardai who are now temporarily based in Erris have no wish to be here. They joined the Garda Siochana to fight crime not to spend their time in Mayo in conflict with the local community.” Cllr Bree said.

“It also has to be said that there is a minority of gardai who have been consistently aggressive and provocative during the protest marches. It’s as if they were planted here deliberately in the hope that they might provoke local people.

“I witnessed people being baton charged here last November without any provocation. On the same day a police superintendent, apparently with the approval of the Minister for Justice, decided to ban a legitimate peaceful march. It smacked of Northern Ireland in the bad days.

“The fact is that people in Mayo and across the country have been actively campaigning to ensure the Shell Corrib gas project will not proceed as planned. They refuse to be bullied by the might and arrogance of global corporate power and their political allies.

“People from the Erris region have been living with this nightmarish prospect for far too long. They have been intimidated, threatened and even jailed for their refusal to be walked on. Throughout this ongoing ordeal these people continue to demonstrate strength, dignity and courage in the face of enormous adversity. In doing so they have inspired people from all over Ireland to reclaim the power that we hold as individuals, citizens and communities.” said Cllr Bree.


Shell to Sea campaign represents a determined force for change

“The growing Shell to Sea campaign represents a formidable and determined force for change that is growing in size and confidence.” said Cllr Declan Bree when he welcomed those attending the Shell to Sea Fundraising Concert in the Hawks Well Theatre, on Sunday 11th February.

“This essentially is a case of the people versus corporate power. It is about our values and our natural resources; it is about our rights and our natural heritage. It is about the right of communities to live in a safe, peaceful and healthy environment.

“Tonight, you stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Erris and Rossport. Tonight, by your presence here, you show your solidarity with the people of the Rossport community – a community under siege.” he said.

Those taking part in the concert included musicians John Carty and Francis Gaffney; the Kane sisters from Galway; Oisín Mac Diarmada; Seamie O’Dowd; PJ Hernon; singer/ songwriter, John Hoban; fiddle player, Jesse Smith and flute players, Gregory Daly and Fintan Vallely. There were readings from local poet Michael Gorman and Sligo based novelist Dermot Healy.

Actor Sean McGinley acted as Master of Ceremonies for the occasion and Dr Mark Garavan, PRO of the Shell to Sea Campaign also spoke at the event.

Page 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9