Man from Northern Ireland one of three to return medals
Kieran Devlin from Northern Ireland was one of three men, all from UK Veterans for Peace, involved in a powerful unofficial ceremony on 10th July at Downing Street, London, handing back medals and renouncing their pledge of allegiance. The other two were Ben Griffin and John Boulton. They met in Trafalgar Square, and walked down Whitehall towards the residence of the Prime Minister; once at Downing Street the veterans lined up, faced the police barricades and conducted the ceremony. Ben Griffin said: ""We are members of Veterans For Peace UK, an ex-services organisation of men and women who have served this country in every conflict since the Second World War. We exist in the hope of convincing you that war is not the solution to the problems of the 21st century. We have come here today to hand back things, given to us as soldiers, that we no longer require or want."
Each then spoke about why they were rejecting their oath, their army beret, and their medals. Kieran Devlin (who was involved in the first Gulf War and the conflict in Northern Ireland) said "This is my Oath of Allegiance, this was a contract between the Monarchy, the British Government and a fifteen year old child. I am no longer loyal to the Government or the Monarchy." "This is my Army hat, this was given to me as a sixteen year old boy. I reject militarism, I reject war. And it means nothing to me." "These are my medals, these were given to me were given to me as a reward for invading other peoples countries and murdering their civilians. I'm now handing them back." When the ceremony was finished the three walked away, leaving oaths, berets and medals on the ground. See the Veterans For Peace UK website for full details.
CAJ moves in Belfast
CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, has moved from its offices in Sturgen Building, Queen Street, Belfast to Community House, Albert Street, Belfast. The new address is 1st Floor, Community House, Citylink Business Park, 6A Albert Street, Belfast BT12 4HQ. Other contact details for CAJ remain the same: Phone 028 – 90316000, e-mail email@example.com and web www.caj.org.uk
The move is part of several human rights organisations moving in together and consolidating work in the light of funding changes; others to be based in the same building include Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR), the Human Rights Consortium, PILS/Public Interest Litigation Support Project, and the Equality Coalition (all have websites which can easily be found through a word search).
Community Relations Week: One place, many people
Community Relations week in Northern Ireland runs from 28th September this year and has the theme "One place, many people". Over 170 events of many different kinds will be taking place all over Northern Ireland. The programme will be online on the CRC/Community relations Council website from early September. See www.community-relations.org.uk
International Day of Peace events in the North
A variety of activities are happening on 21st September or around then; look and ask locally. Here is a partial listing:
In Omagh at 11.30am on 21st September there will be the unveiling of peace plaques with peace pledges from young people in schools and colleges in the Oasis Centre
Public Achievement are organising a Peacefest NI event for young people at Belfast City Hall on the evening of Monday 21st September, contact via www.publicachievement.com
There will be the launch of a peace education programme run by Citizens for Peace for the University of the Third Age, at Crawfordsburn Country Park at 2.30pm on 21st, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is needed for Peace? Open space type, interactive, conversation organised by INNATE and Mediation Northern Ireland, 7pm on Tuesday 22nd September at MNI, 83 University Street, Belfast, queries to email@example.com
Healing Through Remembering's "Everyday objects transformed by the Conflict" exhibition will be on display at The Space in Newtownards.
An informal group has been working in the North to promote International Day of Peace on 21st September: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The future of Trident
Janet Fenton, long-time Scottish activist with CND and others, will be speaking at meetings around the country about the British Trident nuclear weapons system, its proposed replacement, and the relevant British politics. Organised by PANA, the Peace And Neutrality Alliance www.pana.ie and run in conjunction with the other groups listed:
Belfast - Wednesday 7th October at 7.30pm in MNI, 83 University Street, Belfast, run with INNATE.
Limerick - Friday 9th October at 7.30pm in Pery's Hotel, Glentworth Street, Limerick, run with Shannonwatch.
Dublin - Saturday 10th October at 2.30pm in Connolly Books, 43 East Essex Street, run with the Communist Party of Ireland. [A proposed Galway meeting has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.]
Baldonnel joins Shannon.....
Shannonwatch reports that US military craft have been given permission to fly in to Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel (to the south-west of Dublin). This was revealed in the Dáil last December and it would appear that the same lack of oversight of what and who is coming or going applies there as at Shannon. There is no evidence it has been extensively used but the Sinn Féin deputy asking the question, Seán Crowe, has still not been provided with the figures promised. See here.
PANA sets up support group for Clare Daly, Mick Wallace
PANA, the Peace And Neutrality Alliance, reports that Clare Daly TD and Mick Wallace TD are likely to be sent to prison for a month, very probably commencing in early September, for protesting against the use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to and from their perpetual wars in total contravention of international law as applied to neutral states in the 1907 Hague Convention. See Nonviolent News 229. To join the Daly & Wallace Solidarity Group set up by PANA phone 087-2611597.
Poppies for remembrance, and peace
If it is the start of autumn then it is getting close to another season, the 'Remembrance season' in Britain and Ireland and, for those who wish, the opportunity to remember those who died in wars and make a statement for peace at the same time by wearing a white poppy. The Peace Pledge Union in Britain sells white poppies (profits support their work) at 5 for £4.00, 10 for £7.50 or 25 for £15.50, plus £3 post and packing (UK postal area prices). You can also e-mail email@example.com or see www.ppu.org.uk Other resources on war and peace are also available and listed, including a "Remembering war – searching for peace" set of documents which looks critically at the whole area of remembrance, and a publication on the story of conscientious objectors in the First World War, or on children and peace. PPU, 1 Peace Passage, London N7 0BT, ph 020 7424 9444.
INNATE has a limited number of white poppies available.
Fracking: Research suspended over local concerns
Work has been suspended on scientific research being carried out by DIAS (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) in Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh following concerns over its links to fracking. DIAS were undertaking research into the Northwest Carboniferous Basin to assess the potential for sequestration and long term storage of man made carbon dioxide, they later stated the survey would test out their equipment. Love Leitrim had called for landowners to 'Lock your gates' calling the unauthorised survey "another exploratory threat that could facilitate the introduction of fracking into Ireland". DIAS denies that the study pertains to fracking but Eddie Mitchell from Love Leitrim believes the data gathered by this survey could be used by fracking companies to fill the current information deficit and help gas companies assess the potential for shale gas development. Thanks to Afri for sharing. www.loveleitrim.org
Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland
Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland is a twice monthly listing of links to information at home and abroad and issued by Keep Ireland Fracking Free. See here or subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meath Peace Group: Decade of Centenaries seminar
Meath Peace Group and the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society will co-host a second Decade of Centenaries seminar in Dalgan Park, Navan on Saturday 26th September (9.30am-5pm). This year's seminar will focus on aspects of the 1915-16 period, including talks on "Ireland and the Great War", "Irish-Australian perspectives on the Great War", "Dublin Castle and Irish Sedition, 1915-16", "Easter 1916", "Meath and the Great War", "Meath: 1916 and the Rise of Republicanism", concluding with a panel discussion on "History, Commemoration and 1916". Speakers will include Prof. Keith Jeffery (QUB), Prof. Eunan O'Halpin (TCD), Dr Fearghal McGarry (QUB) and a range of local Meath historians. Booking is essential and places are limited. Contact Julitta Clancy 01 8259438; email email@example.com and see websites www.meathpeacegroup.org and www.mahs.ie
Mediation Awareness Week
The Irish Commercial Mediation Association has initiated Mediation Awareness Week and it will run from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th October this year. They invite all sorts of organisations to run events which will be listed on the website. Info and contact via www.mediationawarenessweek.ie
Introduction to Mediation Workshop, RCN, Cookstown
This is taking place at the Rural Community Network (RCN) Training Room, 38A Oldtown Street, Cookstown, Co Tyrone BT80 8EF on Tuesday 3rd November from 9.30am – 4.30pm with Michael Doherty of Mediate NI. The cost is £50.00 per person and it is designed for a wide variety of professions and 'anyone working with people'. All participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance from Mediate NI. Queries to RCN at 028 86766670.
Michael Doherty's 'Peace Builder's Handbook' is aimed at facilitators in the field of peacebuilding and includes icebreakers, trust exercises and 50 worksheets. Available for £6 plus postage from Teresa Melaugh, Clarendon Street Chambers, 67 Clarendon Street, Derry / Londonderry BT48 7ER, ph 028 71365636, mobile 07714494258 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AVP/Alternatives to Violence Project, Dublin workshop
AVP is running a basic level workshop the weekend of 18th – 20th September in Dublin, cost €20. This is an opportunity to participate and start the three levels of this experiential programme dealing with alternatives to violence at a personal level. Details from email@example.com AVP International has a new website, visit https://avp.international
INNATE materials: Posters, food
- INNATE's set of online posters is now complete (although occasional ones may be added). It consists of 84 downloadable posters, A4 size, for home printing on peace, conflict, nonviolence, violence, war and militarism, gender and peace, religion and peace, dealing with the past, Northern Ireland, human rights, inclusion and justice, and green issues. They are all available on the INNATE website – click on 'Posters'.
- Also now available on the INNATE website (under 'Pamphlets') is a 31-page pamphlet on "Vegetarian and Vegan Cuisine", part cookbook, part general advice. This is an edited and expanded version of material which appeared in the Billy King column in the e-mail and web editions of Nonviolent News. For the rationale see here
Austerity and Inequality: A threat to peace?
This is a one day conference in Belfast on Thursday 15th October which will explore perspectives on the impacts of austerity from home and abroad and will seek to address the question of the immediate and long term impacts of austerity on inequality in Northern Ireland. There is an impressive line up of topics and speakers. This conference is run by the Equality Coalition with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Human Rights Consortium (HRC). Registration is free or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org The Equality Coalition can be phoned on 028 90316016.
INCORE course on Peacebuilding in Divided Societies
INCORE is running a short course on Peacebuilding in Divided Societies and is aimed at anyone interested in the theory and application of intercommunal peacebuilding. The course requires attendance at Magee Campus, Derry, from 10.15am – 2.05pm on six Fridays starting on Friday 6th November until Friday 11th December. This course is also a module in the Applied Peace and Conflict Studies course. The fee is £416 and entry requires an undergraduate degree. See here.
A listening ear......
Amnesty International has written to all members of the Northern Ireland Assembly warning them that their communications may be under surveillance from the UK spy agency GCHQ. The move follows reports that GCHQ is no longer applying the so-called "Wilson doctrine" to members of devolved legislatures in the UK. Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said: "The change in GCHQ's interpretation of the Wilson doctrine illustrates why mass surveillance is so damaging to a free society. If our elected representatives are not safe from the spies, who is?" See here.
Glebe House autumn programme
Harmony Community Trust/Glebe House, Strangford, Co Down has a very varied autumn programme - details from email@example.com or phone Carmel at 028 44881374. There will be a 40th Anniversary Harmony week from November 23rd-29th; a range of activities and events will occur over this week culminating in a weekend of festivities and including an Adult Programme exhibition. See also the website at www.glebehouseni.com
DDCI is seeking Co-ordinator
Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (based in Dublin) is seeking a new coordinator who has both excellent organisational skills and a deep commitment to local and global economic justice work. Deadline for applications is 9th September. Full details available via the DDCI website at http://www.debtireland.org
Mediation Northern Ireland programme
Mediation Northern Ireland (MNI) autumn programme in Belfast includes 'Fear Less' seminars, the next one being on Wednesday 4th November at 6pm with the role of shame being one theme. Walking Each Other Home is an open access mindfulness programme on the first and third Thursday of each month from 5.30pm. Further details and queries via www.mediationnorthernireland.org
Eco-Congregation Ireland: Creation Time, Laudato Si'
Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) ecocongregationireland.com encourages churches of all denominations to take an eco approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world. It produces a monthly newsletter available on request. Current news includes –
Creation Time, 1st September – 4th October: Churches and faith communities throughout Ireland are encouraged to join Christians throughout the world in celebrating Creation Time from 1st September to 4th October (the Feast of St Francis). There are many ways to observe Creation Time, including holding a climate justice service and organising environmental events e.g. a litter pick, a nature walk or inviting a speaker.
Conferences on Laudato Si'; A conference on Pope Francis's new encyclical, 'Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home', will take place in Balally Pastoral Centre, Cedar Road, Dublin 16 on Friday 18th September from 7.30pm to 9.30pm and on Saturday 19th September from 9.30am to 2.30pm. with an impressive line up of speakers. All welcome. Other conferences will take place in Cork City, 10 am – 4pm on 16th September and in Killarney, 6 – 10 pm on 28th September. Full details and booking info under 'News' on the ECI website.
Global Day of Action, 26th September: Stop Climate Chaos and People's Climate Ireland are organising the screening of Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything' documentary on Saturday 26th September in Merrion Square, Dublin, to mark the Global Day of Action. There will be music as well. Look out for further details.
Church and Peace commends Pope Francis
Church and Peace, a European ecumenical peace church network, has welcomed Pope Francis' unambiguous statements about the arms trade, and his June encyclical 'Laudato Si' – care of our common home. The Church and Peace statement is available here and Laudato Si' can easily be found by a word search online or a feature on it on the CAFOD site www.cafod.org.uk
Pax Christi 70
Pax Christi International members from five continents gathered in Bethlehem in July to celebrate Pax Christi's 70th anniversary, learn from and encourage each other in the work for peace, and renew commitment to creating a more just and peaceful world. The Bethlehem Commitment made at this event can be found here. Donations can be made via the website at http://www.paxchristi.net
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