Shareholders attending the Cement Roadstone Holdings AGM in the Marine Hotel Dún Laoghaire on Wednesday [May 5] were greeted by a large, colourful and noisy demonstration calling on the company to divest from Israel.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign called the protest to put pressure on CRH, which is Ireland’s largest multi-national company and the second largest building material supplier in the world, to end its involvement in the construction of the apartheid wall in the West Bank. Leaflets were distributed to those attending the AGM and a lively protest ensued outside the hotel on Dún Laoghaire’s main street. Shareholders were left under no illusion as to the shameful practices of the company.
The wall, which is 450km long and annexes almost 50 per cent of the West Bank, has caused untold misery and suffering for the people of the occupied territory, cutting them off from their land and making daily life a living hell.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall was illegal and violated the Palestinian right to self-determination. Yet, CRH continues to profiteer on the back of the oppression of the Palestinian people: the company recorded pre-tax profits of €1.8 billion in 2009 and holds a 25 per cent stake in Mashav, a holding company for Nesher Cement, Israel’s sole cement company. CRH has admitted that Nesher Cement is being used in the construction of the wall.
The IPSC protest forms part of an international effort to put pressure on CRH to end its involvement in the construction of the apartheid wall. Last Friday, IPSC activist Tommy Donnellan was assaulted and arrested by Israeli troops while filming a peaceful protest against CRH in the West Bank village of Bi’iln. Released after several hours, Tommy had part of his ear torn off and suffered cuts to his legs.
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mháistír extended solidarity with Tommy and wished him a speedy recovery.
“The courageous actions of people like Tommy provide inspiration to us all to continue to demonstrate active solidarity with the people of Palestine. On behalf of éirígí, I wish to extend our solidarity to Tommy and wish him a speedy recovery,” Daithí said.
Expressing éirígí’s support for the IPSC campaign Daithí continued: “The international boycott of apartheid South Africa played a significant role in bringing that system down. CRH is Ireland’s largest multi-national corporation and is complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation and the human rights abuses committed daily against the Palestinian people.
“It is an outrage that this company continues to profit on the back of the suffering of Palestinians, the theft of their land and the violation of their human rights. éirígí is committed to supporting this campaign and calls on trade unionists, political parties and all those concerned with justice for the Palestinian people to give their full backing to the campaign to force CRH to divest from Israel.”
Drawing parallels with the boycott of apartheid South Africa, Daithí said: “Over 25 years ago, Dunnes Stores workers refused to handle goods from apartheid South Africa and sent a message across the world that Irish workers would not stand by and be complicit in the oppression of black South Africans. The actions of the women involved in that strike continue to inspire and that determination is required once again if the apartheid Israeli state is to be isolated and faced with the shame of the world.
“CRH must end its shameful association with the Israeli state and cease to profit from the daily suffering endured by Palestinians at the hands of this odious regime.”
The aims of the IPSC campaign are to:
- Raise public awareness about the effect of the illegal occupation of Palestine and its impact on the Palestinian people, and;
- Encourage Irish state, financial, educational and church organisations to put pressure on Israel to end discrimination against the Palestinian people and bring an end to the ongoing expulsion from their homes and land, and;
- Demand that CRH support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence and to make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses by divesting from Mashav and its operations in the occupied territories of Palestine.
For further information on the campaign log on to the IPSC website www.ipsc.ie
Sign the petition calling on CRH to divest in Israel www.ipsc.ie/crhdivest/petition.html
Contact CRH and demand that they divest from Israel
CRH Head Office, Belgard Castle, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, Ireland.
Tel: +353 1 4041000
Fax: +353 1 4041007