Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community, Corrymeela, has gone through a major restructuring this year, ahead of its 50th anniversary next year. The old position of Leader has been split into 2 distinct roles. Colin Craig is the Executive Director who runs the day to day organisation and Padraig O Tuama starts as Community Leader in November. He will have responsibility for the spiritual life and vision of the community and for relations with other faith communities. The restructuring of the Management team has been completed with the appointment of Mark McCleary as Head of Communications. Mark worked for the BBC for 15 years and will be responsible for promoting the work of Corrymeela across the world. Responding to the need at this difficult time in the sector Corrymeela is also investing its own resources in new programmes and staff. The Corrymeela Belfast office is now at 129 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 1SH, phone 028 9050 8080 and e-mail email@example.com The Corrymeela website is at www.corrymeela.org
See article on the history of Corrymeela House, Belfast, in the e-mail and web editions of Nonviolent News.
50 years of Corrymeela volunteers
In 1965 Desney Cromey was one of the first volunteers with Corrymeela and literally thousands have followed in her footsteps. Volunteers are the lifeblood of Corrymeela and it wants to celebrate by inviting them back at Easter next year. From Thursday 2nd – Wednesday 8th of April 2015 there will be a volunteers reunion at the Ballycastle centre. However over the years contact has been lost with many of those who came from all around the world to spend a week, a month or a year at Corrymeela. If you are a former volunteer or are still in touch with former volunteers Corrymeela would love you to send their details so an invite can be sent. Please send any contact details of volunteers to Emma Schmelzer, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone 028 2076 2626.
Afri Hedge School 2014
“Awakening Conscience: Standing up for Justice, Tackling Climate Change, Opposing War and Militarism” is the title of this year’s Afri Hedge School taking place in Room A57, Aontas Block, I.T. Blanchardstown from 9.30am - 4pm on Tuesday 11th November 2014. In Irish history, Hedge Schools were places of learning, continuity and resistance, emerging out of the draconian Penal Laws that forbade formal education to most Irish people. Learning about and resisting the causes of poverty is at the heart of Afri’s work and the Hedge School symbolizes the kind of resilience and creativity needed to address the crisis facing the world as a result of climate change and the obscenity of the war industry. The 2014 Hedge School will explore the themes of climate change, conflict and militarism from the perspective of conscience. This year's Hedge School is organised in partnership with the students from the Social and Community Development Course from I.T. Blanchardstown.
CAJ on TBUC
“Together: Building a United Community” (TBUC) is the current policy in Northern Ireland on good relations under the DUP-Sinn Féin held OFMDFM. CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, provides detailed and clearly thought out commentary on issues in the broad human rights field. One such example is its submission on TBUC made in October 2014; In this, among other things including careful assessment of the interaction of good relations and equality issues, it proposes a definition of ‘good relations’ (not defined in the TBUC strategy documents) that it “...means having regard, in particular, to the desirability of - (a) tackling prejudice, and (b) promoting understanding.” Again CAJ emphasises the importance of having a definition of sectarianism and proposes “Sectarianism” shall mean the belief that a ground such as religion, political opinion, language, nationality or national or ethnic origin justifies contempt for a person or a group of persons, or the notion of superiority of a person or a group of persons.” CAJ, 9 -15 Queen Street, Belfast BT1 6EA, ph 028 9031 6000, e-mail email@example.com and web www.caj.org.uk
CAJ has also been challenging the lack of a clear NI Executive anti-poverty strategy as required under the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement, see here
Ireland way off track for 2020 climate targets
The Environmental Pillar is calling on the Irish government to end its disjointed approach to emissions targets and put Ireland at the forefront of climate change action. It has expressed disappointment but not surprise at the European Environment Agency (EEA) study which found Ireland will not meet its 2020 emissions targets when it will be producing emissions 21.2 per cent above the target.
The report which was published on 28th October shows that, as it stands, Ireland is one of the poorest performing countries in relation to emissions targets - second only to Luxembourg as most likely to miss targets with existing measures. It shows that Ireland is one of only four European countries who will miss their targets even when additional measures are factored in. In light of this the Environmental Pillar is calling for the government to force every department to play their part in addressing climate change. "At present a number of government departments, most notably Transport, have been ignoring national emission targets. This needs to stop," said Environmental Pillar spokesman Oisín Coghlan. "The government also needs to stop propagating the myth that Ireland is hard done by in relation to targets and start making proper plans move to a low carbon economy.”
Key actions identified to help Ireland get back on track include: Guarantee that all strategy documents prepared by government departments acknowledge and include actions to achieve emissions targets; Examine all current strategy documents and amend them to include action on emission targets; Include the definition of low carbon from the government's national policy position in the Climate Bill: Establish a Climate Change Advisory Council on an independent footing similar to the Fiscal Advisory Council. Environmental Pillar, MACRO Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7, environmentalpillar.ie
Eco-Congregation and Trócaire in new award scheme
Eco-Congregation Ireland is partnering with Trócaire in its new eco award scheme, as outlined in the Glas pastoral resource launched to accompany the recently updated Catholic Bishops’ pastoral, ‘The Cry of the Earth - A Call for Action for Climate Justice’ The pastoral reflection was first issued in 2009 but has been updated to include the latest scientific information and to take account of the most recent report findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The GLAS resource is full of practical suggestions for incorporating environmental care into church life. There are three levels: Bronze, The Eco-Aware Award; Silver, The Eco-Committed Award and Gold, The Eco-Living Award. The Eco-Congregation Ireland website isecocongregationireland.com which includes information on the home page of how you can make financial donations.
News Those looking for a socially progressive but Euro-sceptic Irish source of news may wish to receive the fortnightly “People’s News” from the People’s Movement, on their website at www.people.iel Their newsletter is online but can also be e-mailed.
Prisoners for Peace Day
Each year on 1st December War Resisters' International and its members mark Prisoners for Peace Day, publicising the names and stories of those imprisoned for actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in jail for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war. This day is a chance for others to demonstrate your support for them. WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, and a special effort is made to update it for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st. You are invited to set aside some time on December 1st, or a day close to it, to send cards that express your solidarity. You can find the names and address here: www.wri-irg.org
The Golden Rule
The Wizard of Id take on the Golden Rule is that “Whoever has the gold makes the rules’. However the Golden Rule applies almost universally across faiths and philosophies – treat others as you would like to be treated. This has a profound but not necessarily simple relationship to nonviolence (INNATE has a poster or fact sheet on it). Scarboro Missions in Canada produce some important inter-faith materials and they have detailed study materials on the Golden Rule, designed for 13-18 year olds but much of it also for learning by, or application to, adults.
INNATE’s photo site
INNATE has a flickr photo site for Irish and international peace, nonviolence and related issue photos, with well over seven hundred photos and seventeen albums currently. Ones added this year include ones about Veterans for Peace, Pax Christi, AVP, CND, Afri, Shannon, Quiet Peacemakers, and INNATE itself. See but it is also accessible via the home page of the INNATE website. Photos welcome for possible inclusion: send to firstname.lastname@example.org
SCI sections on nationalist football violence
Service Civil International (SCI) groups in Albania, Serbia and Kosovo have issued a joint statement following violence at an Albania-Serbia football match on 14th October in Belgrade, and associated violence outside the game. “We, activists and members of SCI (Service Civil International) branches in Serbia, Kosovo and Albania felt a need to express our opinion on recent events and reactions during and after the Euro 2016 qualifying match between Albania and Serbia played on October 14th in Belgrade, Serbia. It is sad that a sporting event was turned into a chauvinistic theatre which sparked a fire of nationalism, hatred and violence, which is, no doubt, very much present among people in the Balkans. It is also sad that all these events are happening in the year that is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the WWI - a war of such nationalism that caused the deaths of more than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians. It is as well 70 years after liberation of Belgrade. “
In SCI, we believe that all people can live together with mutual respect and without recourse to any form of violence to solve conflict. For us, this is not just a belief; it is a reality for which we volunteer and work. SCI branches in the Balkans were born from an Anti-war campaign which was waged during the wars of 1991-1999, driven by a passion for reconciliation: for building bridges and breaking down prejudices and stereotypes among people at a grassroots level.” See the SCI website at www.sciint.org The Irish section of SCI is VSI at www.vsi.ie
Win Win or Fàn Bīng Bīng voting
Peace in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kenya, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe - to name but six - depends, inter alia, upon some form of power-sharing or, to use the latest term, inclusive governance. The best way by which a parliament may elect an executive such that, individually, each minister is the one best suited for that department, while collectively, this government represents the parliament in proportional due, is the matrix vote which, furthermore, is ethno-colour blind. Interestingly enough, the latest demonstration of this democratic procedure was held in the Peoples' Republic of China: By the way, Fàn Bīng Bīng was elected to play the role of the corrupt official in this democratic exercise.
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