United States soldiers spread COVID-19 in Ireland


This 17 April 2020 video says about itself:

Almost a thousand soldiers in US military infected with Coronavirus. US Army chief said that soldiers would continue to train …General James McConville said that the army needs to be ready to go to war. General James McConville, Chief of Staff of US Army, said, “As this morning, we’ve had 992 soldiers from all three components test positive for the COVID 19 virus.”

U.S. TROOPS BLOW OFF COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS American officials have apologized to Irish leaders after U.S. military personnel ignored COVID-19 regulations when they landed at Shannon Airport late last month. The 48 service members, plus five crew members of the U.S. Navy C40A aircraft, skipped presenting required negative tests for COVID-19 when they landed. They then broke isolation during the night, leaving their Limerick hotel to buy food. [HuffPost]

US military troops travelling into Shannon breached Covid-19 rules. ‘Error on the US side’ meant troops failed to show negative PCR test before Limerick stay: here.

CDC DIRECTOR: LATEST COVID DATA COULD SPELL TROUBLE New data about the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. is extremely concerning, the leader of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned. “At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, referencing emerging strains of the coronavirus that appear more transmissible, deadlier and more resistant to vaccines. [HuffPost]

James Joyce and Stiff Little Fingers punk


This music video from Northern Ireland is called Stiff Little Fingers Live Queens Hall Belfast 6 Tracks 1980.

On 16 December 2020 the Punk Scholars Conference on the internet, after days about France, about Europe and about Indonesia, moved to the USA. That did not mean that all papers presented were about the USA.

One paper was about Ireland. It compared the novel Ulysses by famous 20th-century Irish author James Joyce to the punk album Inflammable Material by Belfast band Stiff Little Fingers. Professor Ryan Kerr, English, University of Florida said that writings about Ulysses are often limited to its literary innovations. They don’t mention the sharp criticism in it of the British army and police in Ireland.

Likewise, the lyrics of Stiff Little Fingers contain criticism of the British army and police in Ireland. Stiff Little Fingers differ from, eg, the Pogues, in not having influence of traditional Irish folk music in their punk rock.

The first presentation was by Michael Valania from Sacramento in California. It was about direct action activism, eg by British punk band Crass, Food Not Bombs and the Occupy movement.

Next came Ellen Bernhard, Department of Communication, Graphic Design & Multimedia, Georgian Court University (Lakewood, New Jersey). She spoke about Epitaph Records. Epitaph Records is an independent music label founded in Los Angeles by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz in 1981. Ellen Bernhard says there are older generation-younger generation tensions about it.

Then, Olivier Berube-Sasseville spoke on skinheads in France (1983-1993). Most writings so far are on far right skinheads. However, not all skins are neo-nazis.

Marian Phillips spoke about queercore from 1980 to the present. Queercore fights for LGBTQ rights within the punk movement. The name with -core sounds like it is a subdivision of hardcore punk. It is not; queercore bands may play many different punky music styles, not just hardcore punk in the post-1980s sense (not the same as the pre-1980 sense of ‘hardcore’ by the way). What links them is ideas and lyrics, not really musical genre. Queercore is varied (eg, Black queer punks).

Peter Woods discussed Do It Yourself punk venues in the USA. Cameras had recorded what happened just after concerts. Quite often, people from the audience then went up to the bands to ask questions about instruments, amps, etc. Discussions which may be valuable for starting new bands, improving existing bands, etc. When a woman had just finished playing on stage, both men and women asked her questions. But when a man had just finished playing on stage, only male members of the audience asked him questions. In this way, women who may want to start bands or to improve their music may become excluded from valuable information. Thus making music scenes one-sidedly male. How can venues improve that?

Is this only a problem where the research was done, or in all of the USA, or worldwide? Only at a certain time or always? When Terry of Dutch band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty started to play bass, she spoke not only to Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, who gave her a plectrum. She talked also to Jean-Jacques Burnel of the Stranglers who gave her relevant information.

There was also a paper on punk in Israel, but I will write about that in a separate blog post.

Only Irish dinosaurs described


This December 2018 video says about itself:

Dinosaurs existed for over 170 million years and lived all over the Earth. You might expect to find fossil evidence of them everywhere you look, but only two dinosaur fossils have been found in Ireland.

Dr Mike Simms, Senior Curator of Natural History at National Museums Northern Ireland, explains why.

Read more on this story here.

From the University of Portsmouth in England:

Only dinosaurs found in Ireland described for the first time

November 26, 2020

Summary: The only dinosaur bones ever found on the island of Ireland have been formally confirmed for the first time by a team of experts. The two fossils are from two different dinosaurs, a four-legged plant-eater called Scelidosaurus and a two-legged meat-eater similar to Sarcosaurus.

The only dinosaur bones ever found on the island of Ireland have been formally confirmed for the first time by a team of experts from the University of Portsmouth and Queen’s University Belfast, led by Dr Mike Simms, a curator and palaeontologist at National Museums NI.

The two fossil bones were found by the late Roger Byrne, a schoolteacher and fossil collector, who donated them along with many other fossils to Ulster Museum. Analysis has confirmed they are from early Jurassic rocks found in Islandmagee, on the east coast of County Antrim.

Ulster Museum has announced plans to put them on display when it reopens after the latest rounds of restrictions are lifted.

Dr Simms, National Museums NI, said: “This is a hugely significant discovery. The great rarity of such fossils here is because most of Ireland’s rocks are the wrong age for dinosaurs, either too old or too young, making it nearly impossible to confirm dinosaurs existed on these shores. The two dinosaur fossils that Roger Byrne found were perhaps swept out to sea, alive or dead, sinking to the Jurassic seabed where they were buried and fossilised.”

The article, published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, is part of a larger project to document Jurassic rocks in Northern Ireland and draws on many fossils in Ulster Museum’s collections.

Originally it was assumed the fossils were from the same animal, but the team were surprised to discover that they were from two completely different dinosaurs. The study, employing the latest available technology, identified the type of dinosaur from which each came. One is part of a femur (upper leg bone) of a four-legged plant-eater called Scelidosaurus. The other is part of the tibia (lower leg bone) of a two-legged meat-eater similar to Sarcosaurus.

The University of Portsmouth team, researcher Robert Smyth, originally from Ballymoney, and Professor David Martill, used high-resolution 3D digital models of the fossils, produced by Dr Patrick Collins of Queen’s University Belfast, in their analysis of the bone fragments.

Robert Smyth said: “Analysing the shape and internal structure of the bones, we realised that they belonged to two very different animals. One is very dense and robust, typical of an armoured plant-eater. The other is slender, with thin bone walls and characteristics found only in fast-moving two-legged predatory dinosaurs called theropods.”

“Despite being fragmentary, these fossils provide valuable insight on a very important period in dinosaur evolution, about 200 million years ago. It’s at this time that dinosaurs really start to dominate the world’s terrestrial ecosystems.”

Professor Martill said: “Scelidosaurus keeps on turning up in marine strata, and I am beginning to think that it may have been a coastal animal, perhaps even eating seaweed, like marine iguanas do today.”

To find out when the fossils will go on display at the Ulster Museum follow @ulstermuseum on Twitter, @ulstermuseumbelfast on Facebook and @ulstermuseum on Instagram.

Thousands of Irish children in mass graves


This 15 July 2020 video says about itself:

Six years after from the discovery of 800 babies’ bodies in sewage tanks under a former [Roman Catholic religious] mother and baby home in the Irish town of Tuam, a state commission to investigate what really happened still has yet to report. But Tuam seems to be the tip of the iceberg.

Irish religious children’s mass graves scandal


This 9 June 2020 video says about itself:

Ireland’s Mother and Baby Scandal (Part 1) | People and Power

Content warning: Some viewers may find this film distressing

Six years ago, Catherine Corless, a local historian from County Galway in the Republic of Ireland, discovered that hundreds of babies and young children had died in a home for unmarried pregnant women, run by Roman Catholic nuns in her hometown of Tuam.

Further research revealed that many of the babies had died of malnutrition and other forms of neglect. Most of their bodies had been disposed of, officially unrecorded, in an old septic tank buried in the grounds of the home.

Angry survivors and relatives called for an investigation – for the remains to be exhumed, identified and properly buried, for compensation and immediate government action. Concerned families began to ask questions about other homes run by the Church in Ireland and how many other babies had died in equally mysterious circumstances.

In 2015, in response to publicity and pressure in Dail Eireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament, the government announced it was setting up an official Commission of Investigation. The body was required to provide answers by 2018. Indeed, some modest interim findings have since been released, but two years since its official publication date, the full report has still not seen the light of day.

This June, partially in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the report was again delayed until October 2020.

In its absence, the suspicion, frustration and anger of relatives have mushroomed. And the once shameful secret of a single small rural town is developing into a broader and more profound national scandal; an affair which goes to the heart of the close relationship between successive Irish governments and the Catholic Church.

In two special episodes of People and Power, from filmmakers Callum Macrae, Mark Williams and Al Jazeera correspondent Laurence Lee, we investigate deeply disturbing allegations that both the Irish state and its religious orders were responsible for a systematic decades-long regime of institutional neglect and exploitation involving the death of thousands of children.

Irish pine martens help red squirrels


This 2013 Irish TV video is called Red Squirrels | The Secret Life of the Shannon | RTÉ Goes Wild.

From the National University of Ireland Galway:

Red squirrels making comeback as return of pine marten spells bad news for invasive grey squirrel

NUI Galway study finds Ireland’s native species recovering and returning to natural habitats

June 17, 2020

The number of red squirrels is on the increase in Ireland thanks to the return of the pine marten, a native carnivore, a new survey led by NUI Galway has found.

The new findings indicate that the return of the red squirrel is due to the decrease in the number of grey squirrels, which compete with them for food and carry a disease that is fatal to the native species. The re-emergence of the pine marten, which had previously almost disappeared in Ireland, is linked to the local demise of the greys.

High densities of pine martens were found in areas — particularly the midlands — where grey squirrels had disappeared, with red squirrel numbers recovering in many of these areas indicating that they are capable of sharing habitat with the native carnivore, unlike grey squirrels. In urban areas, such as Dublin and Belfast, the grey squirrel continues to thrive.

Grey squirrels were introduced to Ireland early in the twentieth century, and had spread to cover the eastern half of the island. As a result, the red squirrel range had contracted over several years and the native species was struggling to survive.

The citizen science survey, a cross-border collaboration with the Ulster Wildlife and Vincent Wildlife Trust led by NUI Galway, detected significant changes in the ranges of squirrels and pine martens particularly in the midlands and Northern Ireland.

Dr Colin Lawton of the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway said: ‘This study brought together colleagues from institutions all across the island, and this collaborative approach gives us a full picture of the status of these three mammals in Ireland. We are delighted with the response from the public, who were enthusiastic and showed a wealth of knowledge of Ireland’s wildlife. It is great news to see two native species recovering and doing well.’

The report on the survey makes recommendations to ensure that the red squirrel and pine marten continue to thrive, with further monitoring required to allow early intervention if conservation at a local or national level is required.

Dr Lawton added: ‘We encourage our citizen scientists to continue to log their sightings of Irish wildlife on the two national database platforms. Our collective knowledge is a powerful tool in conservation.’

The survey used online platforms provided by the National Biodiversity Data Centre (RoI) and Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (NI) to develop the data. It was funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Badger family in Ireland, video


This 29 April 2020 video from Northern Ireland says about itself:

Wildlife is thriving at the places cared for by the National Trust and during lockdown, with fewer people around, some creatures are taking a chance to enjoy themselves. Take a look at this badger family at Mount Stewart, having an evening outing. It’s thanks to your support that we can continue to look after these special places.

Irish COVID-19 solidarity with Navajo nation, USA


This 5 May 2020 video from Ireland says about itself:

Ireland Owes A Blood Debt To The Choctaw Nation – Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund

In 1847, the Choctaw Nation provided $170 of relief aid to the Irish to help them (today that is the equivalent of $5,000). Not long before the Great Hunger Famine in Ireland, 60,000 Native Americans, including the Choctaw people, had suffered through the experience of the Trail of Tears. The death of many people on the Trail of Tears sparked empathy for the Irish people in their time of need. Thus, the Choctaw extended $170 of relief aid.

Now it is Ireland’s turn to repay this amazing generosity by helping to combat Covid-19 and aid the descendants of the Choctaw Nation, Navajo & Hopi by giving what we can to repay the kindness shown to us and our ancestors before us.

Although oceans apart we are Brothers and Sisters in the historic struggle for freedom we have faced. Now is the time to renew the bonds of friendship between our people as we face this global pandemic.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 6 May 2020:

Irish donors raise £2m in Covid relief for Native Americans inspired by solidarity during the Great Hunger

NEARLY $2.5 million (£2m) has been raised for Native Americans from Irish donors inspired by the solidarity shown to them by the Najavo nation during the 1847 Gorta Mor (Great Hunger).

A GoFundMe page was set up for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation, which has one of the highest per-capita rates of Covid-19 infections in the US.

A high percentage of the nation’s 175,000 population falls into at-risk categories.

From Esquire magazine in the USA:

Somehow, the news reached the Choctaw people who, only 16 years earlier, had been marched from their ancestral lands across the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. Thousands of them died along the way, many from starvation. In 1847, from their meager finances, the Choctaw raised $170—the equivalent of $5,000 in today’s money—for Irish famine relief. Only fairly recently has this story been brought to light, and a lovely memorial was built in honor of the Choctaw people’s generosity in Midleton, in County Cork.

Memorial in Middleton

This photo shows that memorial in Middleton.

Now, it seems, the Irish have chosen to repay that old debt by coming to the aid of this country’s native peoples. From The Independent:

Over 70 people have died with Covid-19 in the Navajo Nation, which lies across parts of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Navajo and Hopi families set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for food, water, essential supplies and personal protective equipment, which has raised more than $1.6m (£1.3m). Several donations came from Ireland, inspired by the help provided by the Choctaw Nation tribe during the Great Famine.

One of the campaign’s organisers, Vanessa Tulley, wrote: “The heartache is real. “We have lost so many of our sacred Navajo elders and youth to Covid-19. It is truly devastating. And a dark time in history for our Nation. “In moments like these, we are so grateful for the love and support we have received from all around the world. Acts of kindness from indigenous ancestors passed being reciprocated nearly 200 years later through blood memory and interconnectedness. Thank you, Ireland, for showing solidarity and being here for us.”

A massive humanitarian crisis. A criminally neglectful and inhumane central government.

Baby perch swimming in Ireland, video


This 30 March 2020 video from Ireland says about itself:

These fish are so small that we call them fingerlings because they are about the size of a human’s little finger. The fish are newly hatched perch babies, and they are hiding out amongst aquatic vegetation in the water to avoid being caught and eaten by a predatory fish or a wading bird such as a heron. These are beautiful baby fish to watch swimming.