Could this be Ireland in 2030? One of Ireland's leading young architecture firms, FKL (Fagan, Kelly and Lysaght), thinks so. FKL is curating the Irish entry in the Venice Architecture Biennale and has brought together a group of young Irish architects to predict how Irish cities, suburbs and the countryside might look in 30 years. Amongst the ideas they've come up with are floating cities, seaside holiday villages that are only visible when occupied and, most radically perhaps, a decent national railway infrastructure that would halve commuting times across the country.
Suburban sprawl is "choking our urban centres, devastating the countryside and atomising our tradition sense of community", say the FKL team. "Can we learn to value land again for its intrinsic qualities and not simply as a site for more houses?" They're looking to imagine a new model of development, "a ruddy hybrid of the rural and the urban", what they call a "super rural" model.
More The Biennale runs from 10 September to 19 November. www.labiennale.org
Developers eye Greystones beach
Just weeks after An Bord Pleanála deferred its decision indefinitely on the controversial ?300m development of Greystones Harbour, developers are due to hold a meeting to reveal proposals for plans to develop the southern section of greystones beach. The meeting is to be held on 31 August in the Druid Marriot Hotel and is said to be an "information evening" by a spokesman for the developers, Foster and Partners, Durkan Residential and Michael Mc Namara & Company. When contacted, Wicklow County Council said no planning application had been made to them.
Increased Israeli violence at West Bank checkpoints
Human-rights organisations have reported an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour against Palestinians by the Israeli Defence forces (IDF) since the conflict with Lebanon started. According to human-rights activists and Palestinian residents, soldiers took advantage of the spotlight being turned towards Lebanon and behaved especially violently at the check points of Judea and Samaria during the war.
According to B'Tselem, Israel's information centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Palestinians were claiming the IDF were taking the frustration they felt about the conflict out on them. Most of the violence documented by B'Tselem did not cause severe bodily harm but six incidents of beatings resulting in medical treatment were reported to them.
Israeli vs Lebanese deaths since ceasefire
Since the ceasefire, 63 Lebanese have been killed in fighting with Israeli forces and 358 have been injured. One Israeli has been killed with the number of Israelis injured at 161, unchanged since the UN's resolution came into force. Figures released by the Lebanese government state that 15,000 homes and 77 bridges were destroyed during the conflict.
Miami Five rally to be held in Donegal
A rally in support of the release of five Cuban men imprisoned in Miami is to take place in Donegal from 15-17 September. The Irish National Campaign seeking Justice for the Miami Five will erect "Camp Havana" beside Glencolmcille and will offer guided walking tours, show films and give salsa classes with a view to raising awareness and funds for the five men, who were imprisoned eight years ago.
According to the campaigners the men were arrested while attempting to infiltrate terrorist groups who have killed over 3,500 Cuban civilians and have since been subjected to torture while in US custody.
More For more information contact Freemiami5@eircom.net
'Anti-Semitic message at Cork synagogue'
Gardaí have carried out a search for clues about the perpetrators of anti-Semitic "anti-war protests" at a synagogue in Cork city.
The synagogue's caretaker discovered a pair of children's shoes outside the synagogue on the morning of Friday 11 August. The word "Qana" – a reference to the Israeli Defence Force attack on a south Lebanese town – was written on the shoes in red marker. He promptly contacted the gardaí at Anglesea Street Garda station, who carried out a search.
Gardaí are treating it as a "minor" incident, but a spokesperson said that while the conflict in the Middle East continues patrols will keep an eye on the synagogue.
Richard Boyd-Barrett, chairman of the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) said that the protest was "misdirected" and did not represent the majority of those with anti-war feelings. "Protests should be made at the doorsteps of the politicians," he said. "The Irish anti-war movement rejects any attempt to blame Jewish people for Israel's actions in Lebanon."
Fred Rosehill, chairman of the board of trustees for the Cork Hebrew Congregation said the tiny orthodox Jewish community in the city was greatly dismayed by the incident. "Jewish people have lived in Cork for 120 years and we've never experienced anything like this before." He praised the swift and sensitive response of gardaí in Cork.
Making a green nation
The Shell to Sea protests in Mayo are the latest in a line of environmental protests that goes back to the "no nukes" protests at Carnsore in the late 1970s and traces its origins to Ireland's colonial history. This is according to a new book by Galway-based academic Liam Leonard, Green Nation.
Drawing together recent Irish experience of community movements based around environmental issues, Leonard argues that these have been fed by what he calls "rural sentiment", or "the commonly held understandings and beliefs which lie underneath the surface of everyday life in rural Ireland". This rural sentiment, he says, "has been formed over time, emerging in response to local incidents throughout Ireland's colonial history and fermenting into a subconscious belief system which is called upon in times of collective threat".
Leonard explores this "nascent ecopopulist movement" in Ireland through examinations of the anti-nuclear protests at Carnsore, anti-mining protests at Tynagh, Donegal and Croagh Patrick; campaigns against incineration in Galway, Meath and Cork; anti-roads protests at the Glen of the Downs, Carrickmines and Tara/Skryne; and the ongoing Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo. These have shown local communities to be "adept at mobilising responses, framing arguments and establishing the networks and alliances that become possible in a populist society", he says.
Liam Leonard lectures in Environmental Politics and Social Movements at NUI Galway. Green Nation: the Irish Environmental Movement from Carnsore Point to the Rossport Five is published by Choice Publishing
'Lust' by Miriam Cassidy (above) is among the artworks in a new exhibition in a Dublin "superpub", Ron Black's on Dawson St, opening on 25 August. The exhibition features mixed media art, from photography to sculpture.
Cassidy and most of her fellow artists are students at the Dublin Institute of Technology. They go by the collective name of FeSÇ (Fools Gold) and have previously exhibited at the Crow Gallery in Temple Bar, then under the title "Castillians". The exhibition runs until 1 September.