Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Removal of Occupy Galway

Dear Galway City Councillors,

I am writing as a citizen of Galway to voice my disappointment and anger at the decision by Galway City Council to remove the Occupy Galway camp.  I have paid my household charge and this is what I get.  Eyre Square belongs to me and the rest of the citizens of this city.  In whose name was the camp removed?

I welcome the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race to Galway.  I, like many Galwegians, had a ball the last time the race was here and I am not blind to the fact that the race brings in much revenue to the city.  And I sail and enjoy the water.

I also welcomed Occupy Galway to Eyre Square.  I helped erect a tent when they relocated the camp to facilitate the Christmas market.  I am not a member of the Occupy group but I recognise their aims.

Nobody in their right mind would deny that the world is riven with inequality.  It is obvious that the vast majority of the world's wealth is still in the hands of the tiny minority.  The Occupy Galway camp was a protest against this injustice.  By removing the camp, you councillors have taken a stand for inequality, injustice and greed.

Galway is an awesome city.  It is the sort of place where the radical and the corporate meet.  It is a city of culture and arts yet is the party town for stags, hens and the Galway Races.  Occupy Galway and the Volvo Ocean Race are not mutually exclusive; there is room in the civic space for the campaign for social justice and the enterprise of business men and women of Galway to make a living.  Yet by removing the camp, the voices for equality are again sacrificed on the altar of profit.  The people are silenced while all the concerns of business are met.  This slew in favour of one side of the civic equation only results in the alienation of the responsible citizen.  One can't help but wonder what President Higgins thinks.

"The eyes of the world will be on Galway", say you councillors.  Never mind the eyes of the world, I truly doubt that they would have cared about, or even noticed, the Occupy Galway camp.  But you should mind the eyes, hearts and minds of the people of your own city.  You further drive us into the arms of the far left with every conservative decision you make.

I now ask each of you councillors to reply to my email and explain why this decision was taken and what your position is.

John Rogers.