"The Irish are slowly throwing off the shackles of Catholicism, only to embrace an ideology equally destructive. Old women on the bus nod: "It's great to see the country doing so well." And the young cling to their mobile phones and Nike sweatshirts. It's all wonderful, this European Union money bringing us up to date, in line with the rest of Europe. Who's laughing at the Backward Paddies, now that we've got cafés and cable television!
"Meanwhile, for those with eyes, the misery and destruction goes on. After years of the Common Agricultural Policy and large subsidies to farmers to cram sheep on to every bit of land, there is nothing growing on our mountains. Here in the Northwest of Ireland, the hills stand stark and bald - apart from the large swathes of Sitka spruce monocultures. These are now owned by the former Forestry Commission, now called Coillte (which means forest in Irish), who are poisoning our water-table with chemicals, and reducing wild land to toxic tree-farms.
"Across the country you see nothing but cows and sheep, hardly any wild patches, few woodlands, birds and mammals ever-decreasing in number. My hometown straddles a river, and until about 10 years ago itg was relatively unspoilt. Then a big timber merchant expanded all the way down its banks, ripping up hedges, blocking off access to the river, and erecting huge steel fences. The river died a slow, ugly death, but the townsfolk don't care, since they've now got river-view apartments and a health-food shop."
- Anonymous, from EarthFirst! Journal, 2004.