The Old Head of Kinsale - Round 5

Yet again, on Easter Sunday, over 100 picnickers asserted the right of people to walk the Old Head of Kinsale in Co.Cork. Fences were clambered over and wet smelly dogs were lifted to freedom &endash; though the broken fence as the hired goons of security were against letting the mongrels run free on fairways. The exclusive golf course was again opened to the common herd. Some supporters of the golf course staged a counter demo.

It was great craic but beneath the obvious fun of the whole outing a serious battle is being fought. The idea being defended by the golf course owners and their supporters is that private property has absolute rights; greater than the rights, desires or needs of ordinary people. Though it is well known that people have walked the Old Head for generations the wealthy O'Connor brothers, who purchased the headland and built the course, feel that they have a right to exclude everyone who is a non-paying guest. This they state with the common arrogance of the capitalist land owner. They are appalled that anyone could possibly have a counter view.

Of course many people do, and more importantly, many people are prepared to do something to defend that right. The series of successful mass entrances onto the headland and golf course have defied the power of the owners and the state. Mass direct action has shown that we will not tolerate the violation of our fundamental right to roam. The right of people to access the beauty of the planet, to breathe the air, drink the water and walk the land free of hindrance is not for sale.

As more and more land becomes fenced off, more and more free campsites are turned into no-camping zones by Councils the length and breadth of the country, and ever more land owners deny access or attempt to charge for access to traditional walks and monuments, it is vital that protests like the Old Head continue to take place. This is part of the global battle between the rights of property and the rights of people. the rights of people must win or we will all lose.

James McBarron

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This edition is No70 published in June 2002

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