Cork-Kerry Tourism evicts environmentalists

 

Members of an environmental group known as the Atlantis Foundation are to be evicted from their base on land owned by Cork-Kerry Tourism following a court order. Four adults and a five-year-old girl live in three caravans on the site in Baltimore, Co Cork.

The group, known as "The Screamers" in the past, were once based in Co Donegal and have been living in Baltimore on and off for three years. Atlantis Foundation member Ms Rebecca Garcia said last night the group had nowhere else to go, as there was no caravan park or camping area in Baltimore.

The seaside town, she said, was full of empty holiday homes, most of which were only used as second homes by their owners. Neither members of her group nor local people in Baltimore could afford to rent them.

Ms Garcia said the tourism body had taken court action to have the group removed without prior consultation and had acted "with a very heavy hand".

"The eviction order has been made against us and it looks as if we could be thrown off the site at any moment. We just don't know when it might happen," she said.

"Our caravans are in the corner of an eight-acre site. It's not that we're taking up that much space," she added.

Mr Con O'Conaill, regional tourism manager with Cork-Kerry Tourism, declined to comment on the matter because it was "in legal hands".

The group works mostly on environmental issues, but Ms Garcia said her son Tristan and his friend Javier Nova (both 18) were killed by armed militia in Colombia last July while visiting a former Atlantis Foundation land holding there.

Since then, the foundation has been involved in human rights and seeking to have Mr Garcia's and Mr Nova's killers brought to justice.

As part of its work, the group had a presence in South America, trying to persuade local farmers to grow organic crops rather than supply the drugs trade. The project was funded by the members' own resources and through donations.