Greenpeace's Irish branch faces closure


GREENPEACE International wants its Irish branch to shut down on financial grounds. Greenpeace Ireland says it was informed of the recommendation to close it by the board of the international organisation within the past month.

It will hold an extraordinary general meeting in Dublin on Saturday in response to the closure threat which, it says, it will "very seriously resist".

Greenpeace Ireland, the largest environmental organisation in the State, was made self funding by Greenpeace International last year, a year earlier than it had expected, but the organisation was not able to meet its funding target.

Greenpeace Ireland's executive director, Ms Clare O'Grady Walshe, said the board told Dublin of the decision before Christmas. "They said they believed there was a risk in the income projections we had budgeted for and they would have to foot the bill and they had a policy that all. OECD [Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development] countries would become self sufficient. We believed that was not a fair assessment of the situation.

There were "serious differences of opinion" between the two bodies about the possibility of the organisation in Ireland funding itself, said Ms O'Grady Walshe.

"I believe that there are criteria other than financial ones that are important in an organisation like. Greenpeace. We have considerable voluntary support which has. allowed us to be this effective to date but we need to double our membership right now to really ensure that this very strong Greenpeace Ireland company can truly represent the Irish people's needs for Greenpeace because they are Greenpeace.

Ms O'Grady Walshe said the decision had to be reversed "because the environmental issues which Greenpeace Ireland is working on which are far too important to let go without a very serious resistance to this decision".

A Greenpeace International spokeswoman said last night she could not comment before the meeting.