Not slacking on fracking (and it all stacks up)
While the companies that wish to hydraulically fracture or ‘frack’ Ireland’s substructure to bits in pursuit of shale gas and profit (with all sorts of possible negative repercussions) are well organised and prospecting away, opposition and education have been taking off at a great rate. The best known and most comprehensive Irish resource on the issue is the What-the-frack website at what-the-frack.org which is a good starting point for anyone and has a Links section where most but not all of the following contacts come from. In the following listing ‘(F)’ means the group concerned has a Facebook page. This is only a list of ‘dedicated’ anti-fracking groups/websites and it should be noted other green and justice groups are also involved in the issue. Nonviolent News would be happy to add to the list or cover news of campaigning on the issue.
Amnesty International: No to arms atrocities
Amnesty International (AI) Ireland launched, on 1st April, its Global Appeal for public pressure to ensure UN member States deliver a strong Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). AI is insisting that the Treaty include rigorous provisions to prevent arms transfers where there is a substantial risk of their being used to commit serious human rights violations. Noeleen Hartigan, Programmes Director of AI Ireland said: “We want the Golden Rule written into the treaty. This would mean that every arms deal would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If there is a substantial risk that the arms could be used to commit serious human rights abuses, then the arms deal does not go ahead.”
While some countries will be supporting a robust treaty, AI will be specifically targeting the top six arms-producing nations: the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. It is expected that some states will lobby for the treaty to merely ‘take into consideration’ human rights concerns, which means that they will have no legal obligation to prevent transfers when a serious risk exists. Amnesty International expects tens of thousands of activists all over the world to join the Global Appeal. In Ireland it is available at http://www.amnesty.ie/noarmsforatrocities.
To mark the launch AI members dressed as the world’s top six arms producing countries handed out cardboard guns to passers-by while their bloodied victims littered the ground outside the Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin. See Flick for photos.
Hands off our genes! Easter Monday 9th April, Dublin
Join Afri outside the Department of the Environment, Customs House, Dublin 1 at 12pm, Easter Monday, to register your concern about the proposed introduction of GM potatoes into Ireland. On the 27th February 2012 Teagasc submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a licence to study blight-resistant GM potatoes in their research centre in County Carlow. Ireland’s reputation as a green, clean and GM-free food producer is now at risk as a decision to permit GM trials now cannot be rectified at a later date.
Tellingly, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Scientific and Technology for Development (IAASTD) undertaken in 2009 by 400 scientists and development experts from over 80 countries and approved by 58 governments, including Ireland, did not recommend GM as a means of alleviating poverty or improving food security. Afri is concerned about this licence given the scientific uncertainty around the risks to human health, the possibility of contamination (despite Teagasc’s stated commitments to avoid this), and the consequences for biodiversity. Furthermore, the Irish Seed Savers Association already supply blight-resistant potatoes and are doing vital work to meet Ireland’s obligations under the Convention on Biodiversity and ensuring that native Irish seeds are preserved.
Food and famine have always been core themes for Afri and this Easter Monday, 9th April, Afri will be gathering outside the Department of the Environment, Customs House, in Dublin at 12pm to raise awareness about this issue and to tell the Minister for the Environment: “Hands off our genes!” Please join us to ensure that our potatoes remain GM free! Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, ph 01 882 7563/7581 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and web http://www.afri.ie
Stop Climate Chaos
Stop Climate Chaos is planning a lobby event to show support for a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act with binding targets to cut emissions. With a sympathetic Environment Minister and new legislation promised in the Republic of Ireland, this is a really key moment to demonstrate public support for an act and to ensure Northern Ireland plays its part in tackling this global challenge. The event will take place on 8th May 2012 from 4-6pm at Stormont and to prepare, a pack of materials to make it easy to participate is available on the website- http://stopclimatechaosni.org. Two information meetings will be held in Derry Central Library on 11th April at 5.30-7pm and in the Clinton Centre, Enniskillen on 18th April at 6-7.30pm. Anyone who would like to attend or find out more can contact the coalition on email@example.com or phone 028 9023 3488.
Community [Transformational] Dialogue[s]
Community Dialogue, based in Belfast, are pleased to announce our on-going survival & the roll-out of our new Transformational Dialogues Project this April. We thought the game was up with the end of Peace III funding in February 2012 but were successful in securing CRC Core Funding. The project is designed to: Reach those less willing to engage in dialogue due to fear, suspicion, lack of opportunity or confidence; Challenge thinking on critical peace building issues; Develop learning for peace building practitioners & theoreticians.
The project incorporates: 1. A Creative Dialogues Toolbox: This is a tool-box of user-friendly creative dialogue techniques that we will use to engage previously unreachable people & groups across a spectrum of interface, rural, marginalised & diverse other groups. 2. A Legacy Research Programme; We will catalogue, evaluate & report over 1,000 dialogues recorded by us between 1997 & the present. This will offer an unparalleled insight into attitudinal &issue-based change during a critical period in our history & a successful peace building model at local level. Contact David or Jim on 028 90351450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Council of All Beings
A chance to drop human-centred existence and experience the life of other earth-forms, to speak out on what is happening to Mother Earth. A time to strengthen resolve, renew inspiration and develop actions for the Earth. The Council of All Beings is a series of powerful group exercises that engage you and relate to all life on the Earth. Facilitated by Joe Quilty of the Burren and taking place at Kilcranny House, Coleraine from Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May, arrival at 5 or 6pm for a meal and getting to know each other. Cost including meals and 2 nights accommodation £80 (negotiable if need be). Book ASAP to Joe Quilty 00353 657071820 or Malcolm Samuel 028 70350323.
Faslane WMD meeting, Belfast
Faslane, north of Glasgow in Scotland, is the base for Britain’s Trident nuclear fleet, the UK’s very own weapons of mass destruction (and the closest such weapons to Ireland). Opposition to Faslane has been longstanding – for numerous reasons - and on Wednesday 25th April in Belfast there is a meeting which gives people the chance to get right up to date with the issues and campaigning involved. The speaker, Leonna O’Neill, who is from Belfast, is a member of Faslane Peace Camp. It will include a brief overview of Trident, international law in relation to it, and information about the history of protest over Trident; it will allow space for questions and discussion of possible involvement, e.g. in the 30 Days of Action period in June and July. Organised by INNATE in association with the Peace People and taking place at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 25th April at Fredheim, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Contact INNATE for queries.
An article of reflections and more information about the Peace Camp, written by Leonna O’Neill, appears in Nonviolent News for February 2012 (e-mail and web editions).
Manorhamilton justice and peace films
Afri, in conjunction with Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox, will host the Jimmy Gralton Cinema Club, a series of films on justice and peace themes in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim during April. See http://www.afri.ie for more details.
Cultivate: Film series, Convergence on the road
Cultivate’s ‘Climate. Culture. Change’ film series runs in April, May and June with provocative films and discussions highlighting the social dimension of climate change in the lead-up to Rio +20. These are all on Tuesdays at 7pm at Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin. See http://cultivate.ie for details.
Convergence 2012: This will be ‘on the road’ and coincide with the Rio+20 Earth Summit (15th – 30th June). The aim is to shine a spotlight on some of the best ideas out there and ignite a national conversation on how we can most effectively work together to create a brighter and more sustainable future for Ireland. Using an interactive, positive and engaging format, Convergence will bring people together from government, local authorities, business, civil society, NGOs and communities to advance the national agenda on sustainability and help chart a path to Ireland’s recovery. President Michael D. Higgins, who attended the original Earth Summit in Rio, will open Convergence 2012 in Cloughjordan on June 6th. Cultivate is making a call to collaborate in this: see http://cultivate.ie/convergence-2012 for information and contacts.
Allied Irish Banks funding the nuclear weapons industry
A new study by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has exposed a loan of US$28 million, made in May 2010, from troubled Irish Bank AIB to the US arms company Babcock and Wilcox, which is heavily involved in the manufacture and maintenance of American nuclear weapons. Given that the Irish state is now by far the largest shareholder in AIB, Irish CND believes that the government has a responsibility to act to ensure that AIB's lending practices do not offer support to the nuclear weapons industry or to the manufacture of any weapons of mass destruction. If you are an AIB customer, you might consider raising this issue with your bank. You can view the report at www.dontbankonthebomb.com - Info from Irish CND, http://www.irishcnd.org
Church and Peace seek new General Secretary
Church and Peace is a European ecumenical network of Peace Churches and communities, parishes, training centres, peace service agencies and Christian peace organisations that are oriented to the Peace Church concept. It is a catalyst for common initiatives and projects among these members. It is in active dialogue with churches. The current General Secretary, Marie-Noëlle von der Recke, intends leaving around the end of 2012. The closing date for applications for the post is 15th May with a starting date in January. The current International Office is in Schoeffengrund-Laufdorf near Wetzlar, 70 km north of Frankfurt, Germany. Full details at www.church-and-peace.org
Death of Conn Mulvenna
We very much regret to record the death of Conn Mulvenna, suddenly, due to a stroke, aged 46, on 7th March. Conn was coordinator of Kilcranny House, Coleraine with a wide range of involvements with people in the peace and good relations sectors. He had previously worked in peace education with the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation. We will miss him immensely, and the contribution which he has made and would have continued to make. A tribute from INNATE appears at Flickr and as straight text in the e-mail and web editions of this issue. For Kilcranny House see http://www.kilcrannyhouse.org
Shannon Vigil opposing US military use
The regular second Sunday of the month vigil to oppose US military use of the airport takes place on Sunday 8th April from 2pm to 3 pm. Meet at the small roundabout just before Shannon Warport (oops! Do I mean Airport – Ed). Shannon Airport continues to operate as a staging post for US military forces occupying Afghanistan. More than two-thirds of US citizens polled in a recent survey said their country should not be at war in Afghanistan. Most Afghan people don't want them there either as their lives are destroyed by corruption, fundamentalism and US/NATO occupation - three interconnected scourges. Ireland and Shannon supports the failed, misguided and destructive occupation of Afghanistan. Join us in Shannon on Easter Sunday to say enough is enough - end Shannon's complicity in war. For more information email email@example.com or phone 087 8225087. Website: http://www.shannonwatch.org
PNND Senior Programme Officer, Mayra Gomez, in Ireland
Mayra Gomez, Senior Programme Officer of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, based in their global head office in New Zealand, recently visited Ireland in her capacity as vice-president of the International Peace Bureau, and was one of the main speakers at Afri's Feile Bhride. During her time in Dublin, she met with a number of TDs and Senators, and held a briefing for Irish parliamentarians in Leinster House. Irish CND are grateful to our colleagues in Afri for making the arrangements for Mayra's visit. At present the following TDs are members of PNND: Eoghan Murphy (Dublin SE), Maureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central), Padraig MacLochlainn (Donegal NE) and Denis Naughten (Roscommon). Contact the TDs in your constituency to express your concern that Ireland show strong political leadership in pushing for a global ban on nuclear weapons, and urge them to join PNND, which provides high-level briefings for parliamentarians and the opportunity for international collaboration on nuclear arms issues among parliamentarians. Further information on http://www.gsinstitute.org/pnnd. - Info from Irish CND, http://www.irishcnd.org
INNATE leaflets army recruitment in Co Down
INNATE has again leafleted people attending a British army recruitment event at Kinnegar Base, Holywood, Co Down, asking them to ‘think again’ about what they are getting into (and pointing out what some of that is). They also received an At Ease leaflet advising them about their right to object to war if they are in the British armed forces. The army recruitment ‘fair’ is a regular, twice yearly, event, which happened this March on 17th (St Patrick’s Day) and 18th; INNATE leafleted attenders on Sunday 18th March at the park and ride facility for the recruitment event.
Amnesty: welcome and regret on government performance
Amnesty International Ireland has welcomed a number of key commitments to protect human rights made by the Irish Government at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 15th March during the Universal Periodic Review. The Irish Government was replying to 50 of the 127 recommendations made by the Council in October to improve human rights in Ireland. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, addressed the UN Human Rights Council following the statement by Ambassador Gerard Corr, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. The full text of Mr O’Gorman’s remarks.
The Government committed to signing the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women. Colm O’Gorman said: “We warmly welcome decisions to sign these treaties that should strengthen human rights in Ireland, and that will help fight violence against women.”
Regarding Ireland’s agreeing to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Mr O’Gorman said: “There is no excuse for the five-year delay since Ireland signed this treaty on enforced disappearances. Quickly ratifying the treaty is essential, both as an act of solidarity with the disappeared around the world, but also if Ireland’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council is to have its best chance of success.”
Amnesty International Ireland was critical of the refusal of the Irish Government to fully accept some recommendations. Colm O’Gorman said: “While there was some good news today, we are disappointed that the Government failed to fully accept the recommendation to put housing and health rights into Irish law.” The organisation also noted the Government’s disappointing response to recommendations on Traveller ethnicity and corporal punishment of children, and the failure to address the abuse suffered by women and girls in the Magdalene laundries.
Withdraw Irish Troops from the Afghan War
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance has welcomed the New York Times/CBS News poll of 26/3/2012 which showed that the largest number of Americans ever, 69% support the withdrawal of US troops from the Afghan War. Roger Cole, Chair of PANA said; "PANA has consistently opposed the Afghan War and Ireland's support for that war by having Irish troops participate in that war, and by allowing US troops (still 600 a day on average) use Shannon Airport. We once more call upon the Fine Gael/Labour government to immediately withdraw all Irish troops and police from Afghanistan and terminate the use of Shannon by US troops. The latest poll shows that by doing so PANA would have the support of the massive majority of the American people.” http://www.pana.ie
New book from Feasta: Sharing for Survival
Feasta are delighted to announce the publication of its new book, Sharing for Survival: Restoring the Climate, the Commons and Society, a 200-page collection of essays by nine Feasta Climate Group members. Sharing for Survival recognises that official climate policy is dominated by states in thrall to fossil fuel and financial lobbies. It offers a realistic radical way to rapidly reduce emissions through stabilising the economy and ensuring social justice. Its authors explore climate policy in a way that ensures social justice and equity matter, recognising that the UNFCCC process is going nowhere. They explore the impact of fossil fuel depletion on the climate crisis, and challenge the idea that the climate crisis can be resolved in a growth economy.
The book’s editor, ecological economist Brian Davey, is a long-time Feasta member and co-ordinator of the Cap and Share campaign for cutting carbon emissions. The UK launch of the book will take place on April 13th 2012 at Machynlleth, Wales, as the kick-off for the Feasta Climate Group weekend there. A launch will take place in Ireland in May 2012; details about that will be announced shortly. To find out more about the book please see http://www.sharingforsurvival.org. The book’s price is £14.99/€17.50. Feasta’s website is at http://www.feasta.org
The next INNATE networking meeting is on Monday 16th April at 7pm in Corrymeela House, 8 Upper Crescent, Belfast
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