Shannon’s role in the USA’s war machine
The Department of Transport has revealed that in 2014 a total of 272 flights were given permits to take weapons or explosives through Shannon Airport. In response to a freedom of information request by Shannonwatch they confirmed that the majority of the flights were taking US troops between military bases and locations in the Middle East. The information also shows that US troop carriers and aircraft with machine guns, rocket motors and other war material are routinely allowed to fly through Irish airspace. Again the majority of these are flying to or from US military bases around the world. Close to twenty requests were refused in 2014 but the Department would not reveal where these were from or why they were refused. It would only state that they were refused on the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The information provided by the Department shows the alarming level of support that Ireland is giving to US military operations overseas” said John Lannon of Shannonwatch. “Over 550 permits were granted to airlines carrying troops, weapons and explosives to their forward operating bases. There would seem to be an overwhelming bias towards facilitating flights from the US and other NATO countries. How can our government claim we are in any way neutral when this is happening?” He continued “The information reveals flights going to the likes of Saudi Arabia which is dropping cluster bombs on Yemen”. The companies identified as carrying weapons and other war related material for the US include Atlas Air, Omni Air International, Southern Air, National Airlines, Delta Air, Kalitta Air and North American Airlines.
Even though the Department of Transport has finally made this data available, Shannonwatch say that they still don’t know what is on the US Air Force Hercules that land at Shannon. “These aircraft are exempt from freedom of information and the only way to find out what is on them is to do what Mick Wallace and Clare Daly tried to do in July of last year, which was to inspect the planes themselves.” said John Lannon. Shannonwatch have published a complete list of all the flights on their website www.shannonwatch.org with details of flight sources and destinations, what they were carrying and whether or not the plane landed in Ireland. Shannonwatch also say they are astounded to hear the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe say in a Dáil debate on 23rd September that Ireland is a neutral country.
MII mediation conference: Shaping the Future of Mediation
The 17th Annual Conference of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII), “Shaping The Future of Mediation: Global Trends and Challenges” takes place on Friday, 23rd October at The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The keynote address is by Nadja Alexander, conflict specialist, mediator and conflict coach. Workshops include - Letting in the Light: Finding your Tragic Hero with Nadja Alexander; Education and training: The True Agents of Change with Fiona McCauslan; Using Cooperative Enquiry to Bridge the Gap between Mediation Research and Practice with Deirdre Curran, Treasa Kenny & Margaret Bouchier; The Right to Self-Determine: the Relevance for Mediators of the New Capacity Legislation with Mary Condell; Mediation at EU level: status and future challenges of ADRs practice across Europe with Pierre Faller; Mediation: Balancing Natural Competing Forces Within with Tricia Hayes; Introduction to Mindsets – the Challenges for Mediators when dealing with Differences with Gerry Rooney and Mike O’Brien. Fees range from €105 upwards, conference dinner and accommodation extra. See themii.ie/conference
Corrymeela 50 events
On Friday 30th October Corrymeela will turn 50 with a mixture of surprise, gratitude and wonder. On that day in 1965 Ray Davey prayed that Corrymeela would become an open village – “open to all of goodwill, who are willing to meet together, to learn from each other and to work together for the good of all. “ Tulio Vinay from the Agape community echoed that when he hoped that the Ballycastle Centre would become “a place of dialogue and encounter with all people.” Corrymeela wants to invite everyone to its global birthday party - wherever you are in the world it would love you to celebrate the birthday any which way you can. Gather some other friends and have coffee, host a barbeque – do a bungee jump or a walk. Send in your plans and the event will be added to the Global Party page on the website. It is about celebration but if you want to raise some money to support the next fifty years of work Corrymeela would appreciate that. Contact email@example.com and the website address is www.corrymeela.org Big events planned by Corrymeela include:
-The Poet, The Peacemaker and The President with Michael Longley, Kathleen Kuehnast and former president Mary Robinson on Friday 30th October, Belfast City Hall at 7:30pm with talks, music and refreshments. Tickets for the evening are priced at £40 per person and can be ordered through Corrymeela Belfast office on 028 9050 8080.
-Fifty Years, Fifty Stories on Saturday 31st October - Ballycastle Centre 1.00pm – 6.00pm. The Ballycastle Centre will be transformed into a living museum of the last fifty years of Corrymeela. There will be stories from the first work camp and from this summer. There will be audio and video stories from around the world with lots of interaction and a cup of tea and a chat. There will also be two points of gathering in the Croi to honour the memory of those members and friends who are no longer alive. Lunch or dinner are available if booked in advance to Belfast Office 028 9050 8080 or firstname.lastname@example.org Suggested donation of £5 per meal.
-50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 1st November at 3.30 pm in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast. This is the culmination the anniversary celebrations with a theme of gratitude for all that has been achieved over the last fifty years. Community Leader Pádraig Tuama will lead the service and there will be contributions from Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin and special guest speaker The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Winter school: Safety and security after armed conflict
The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (ISCTSJ) at Queen’s University Belfast will be running a five day Winter School from 25th – 29th January 2016.This will focus on the challenges of creating an environment of safety and security in the aftermath of a period of sustained violent conflict. The aim is to explore how such a transition can take place through consideration of key areas of activity such as; the processes of demilitarisation, demobilisation and reintegration of irregular armed/paramilitary groups and their members; the process of security sector reform, including the transition of policing etc; community-based approaches to security and responding to ongoing violence, tensions and disorder. The school will focus in particular on the experiences and lessons of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland to consider what has been done in the years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. It will look at the successes of the transition and also explore some of the failures and the challenges that remain to be addressed. All sessions will be interactive and there will be site visits in Belfast. For more details on the course go to www.qub.ac.uk The standard fee is £650 with a 5% early bird reduction.
Stocking up for next year with a peace diary
Housmans Peace Diary is a remarkable publication and aid to movements working for peace, social justice and the environment. The directory lists over 1500 national and international human rights organisations as well as diary features such as a week to a view, notable dates and anniversaries etc. This is the 63rd annual edition. The feature this year is on conscription and conscientious objection. One copy of the diary is £8.95, postage is £1.50 extra per diary for 1-4 copies in UK postage area, £3 per diary elsewhere. Discounts for more copies. Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, ph 020 7837 4473, e-mail email@example.com or to order online visit www.housmans.com
- INNATE will have a limited number of Housmans Peace Diaries for sale.
- The World Peace Directory is also available online at www.housmans.info/wpd/ in a fuller version. It is worth reading the background information on the website to get the best use out of it.
Campaigners’ delighted as Belfast vote on drilling passes
Belfast City Council is to write to the NI Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan and to the Mid and East Antrim council asking them to ‘urgently review the decision to grant permitted development for exploratory drilling in Woodburn forest with a view to reversing this permission and for the Minister of the Environment to amend the law so that petroleum exploration always requires full planning permission.’ At a full council meeting on the 1st September 2015 the vote was passed by 28 votes to 15. The firm, InfraStrata, has permission to drill an exploratory well for oil and gas within the catchment area for the Woodburn Reservoirs near Carrickfergus. The proposed well is 380m from the reservoir and 250m from the nearest homes. Water from the reservoir supplies the Dorisland centre which supplies 705 Belfast streets with drinking water including Belfast City Hall. Stop the Drill Campaign, c/o 7 Donegall St Place, Belfast, BT1 2FN, firstname.lastname@example.org
AVP working away, in prisons and the community
In the year to autumn 2015, AVP, the Alternatives to Violence Project (a training programme enabling participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways), had run 15 workshops in different prisons around the country, Wheatfield, Dochas, Castelrea, and in the community. It is about to set up teams in Cloverhill and be back in Mountjoy. They are also working with communities and are hoping to run workshops in schools in the coming months. AVP needs volunteers to be trained to run workshops in prison and in the community throughout the country. For more information: email@example.com, www.avpireland.ie, www.facebook.com or phone 085 1512582 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 12 noon).
- The next basic workshop in the community is scheduled for 16th-18th October and will take place in Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative, Dublin www.twcdi.ie, more details to be sent to participants).
The past: Implementing the Stormont House Agreement
A major conference organised by Amnesty International Northern Ireland, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (QUB) and the Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University) took place in May to discuss, examine and provide an independent perspective on the key elements of the Stormont House Agreement which provided for a set of new institutions to deal with the past in Northern Ireland. The full conference report is available here at and a model implementation bill is here.
- A report 'Gender Principles for Dealing with the Legacy of the Past' was launched on 15th September 2015 in the Long Gallery, Stormont by the Legacy Gender Integration Group. This group is an independent initiative made up of individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives who came together to produce 10 key principles to be taken into account when developing the institutions and processes laid out in the SHA to include a gender lens. Available here.
Mairead Maguire on Syria
In early September, Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, called upon the UK Government to move from military proposals, such as bombing in Syria, to humanitarian solutions in tackling one of the greatest tragedies of human suffering to face Europe since the Second World War, i.e. the refugee crisis. She said that the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants from Middle Eastern and African countries into Europe, many of whom have died on the journey, forces us to ask ‘how can they be helped immediately?’ ‘Why are they fleeing their countries?’ ‘And how can the root cause of the problem be solved?’ The “Bombing of Syria, as proposed by the UK Prime Minister will only force more refugees to flee Syria taking extraordinary risks with their lives in order to find some security and safety from their war-torn lands” she said.
She continued: “Enter into dialogue with the Syrian Government, and all Parties to the conflict, in order to find a solution to the refugee and overall Syrian Conflict. Support citizen to citizen diplomacy within Syria, and all those working for peace and reconciliation in Syria and all Middle Eastern countries, and lift the economic sanctions to improve the conditions within Syria and encourage citizens to stay and help re- build Syria. Only when people feel safe and there is peace and stability in their own countries can we expect they will remain (and many return) to their homeland, as opposed to being stuck in refugee camps, for decades, such as the people of Sudan, Palestinians, etc.
It is time to acknowledge, apologize and make reparation, for the damage done by UK USA and some Western Countries, Foreign Policies upon countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, and acknowledge there will not be a military or a paramilitary solution to these deep and increasingly dangerous conflicts. “www.peacepeople.com
A guide to civil resistance
Subtitled “A Bibliography of Social Movements and Nonviolent Action”, the second volume is edited by April Carter, Howard Clark (who worked on it before his death) and Michael Randle; this second volume of A Guide to Civil Resistance covers nonviolent action campaigns in both democratic and undemocratic contexts. It considers indigenous, feminist, LGBT and regional movements in different countries. It provides a global perspective on struggles for peace, the environment and social justice. It highlights a variety of nonviolent strategies and range of tactics from kiss-ins and public fasts to blockades, protest camps and civil disobedience. This annotated bibliography has 844 references to scholarly, journalistic and activist sources. It concludes with a section on preparation and training. An addendum surveys key sources on nonviolent resistance and peace action in French, German and Spanish. Published by Green Print in association with the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. ISBN 978-1-85425-113-8, 258 pages, Paperback, price UK£10. Available from Housmans www.housmans.com Volume 1 is also available.
Trident meetings (updated from last issue)
Janet Fenton, long-time Scottish activist with CND and others, will be speaking at meetings in early October 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.
- The Galway meeting planned for 8th October (and mentioned in the last issue of Nonviolent News) has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances but Janet Fenton will be meeting members of the Oireachtas that day.
- 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.
The latest issue (Summer/Autumn) of the Glencree Newsletter, available at www.glencree.ie include a report on the June event on ‘1916 and the ethics of memory’ and ‘Women in 1916 and ethical commemoration’.
Stop Climate Change on Climate Bill
At the end of September, Stop Climate Chaos welcomed the fact that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill was back in the Dáil for Report Stage but warned that actual measures to tackle climate change are yet to be delivered. The Report Stage debate resumes two months ahead of major UN climate talks in Paris. The coalition is calling for the Climate Bill to be urgently passed into law ahead of these negotiations but adds that passing the Climate Bill does not, in and of itself, constitute action. Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said: “With only two months to go until major climate negotiations begin, the government must signal their intention to tackle climate change by setting out their vision and plan for decarbonising our society in the forthcoming Energy White Paper. The government must also live up to commitments made on providing climate finance to the Green Climate Fund. Ireland is one of only a handful of countries that has yet to pledge its contribution to this fund, which was a source of considerable embarrassment at last year’s UN climate negotiations. Finally they must ensure adequate time is dedicated in the Dáil to passing the Climate Bill.”
Following calls from campaigning organisations that the Climate Bill was too weak to work, a number of amendments were accepted at Committee Stage in June. These changes included a reference to climate justice, a guarantee ensuring the independence of the Advisory Council and clarity on the low carbon objective. Phone 01 6394653, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and web www.stopclimatechaos.ie
UN’s Global Goals and Ireland
Ireland can be proud of the role Irish diplomats played in developing the UN’s new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, according to Friends of the Earth. Along with Kenya, Ireland co-chaired the successful negotiations of the Goals, adopted at a summit of over 150 world leaders in New York on 25th September. Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, was in New York for the summit as an Environmental Pillar observer on the Irish Government delegation. Speaking in advance of the Summit, Oisin Coghlan said “Ireland can be justly proud of the positive role Irish officials played in co-chairing the negotiation of the Global Goals. As we know from the ongoing climate change negotiations, getting 193 countries to agree on anything, let alone Goals as potentially far-reaching as these, is no mean feat”.
“The test now for our political leaders is to show the same commitment in implementing them. The Global Goals, unlike the Millennium Development Goals they replace, are universal: they apply just as much to Ireland as to Kenya or Bangladesh. I don’t think that reality, that challenge, has sunk in yet.” He concluded; “Despite the recession Ireland is the 8th most generous overseas aid donor per person in the OECD. But we’re also the 8th most climate polluting country per person in the OECD. Climate change, of course, is recognized as a clear and present danger to sustainable development globally. That’s the sort of contradiction that we’ll have to address if we want to be proud not just of our role in agreeing the Global Goals but in achieving them”.
Commenting on the speech which was made by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, at the conference, Oisin Coghlan said: "There is no recognition in the Taoiseach's speech that these goals apply to Ireland as much as to Ethiopia or Bangladesh. We have much work to do to achieve them for Irish people. He ends his speech by saying "let us act". Will he now take up the invitation of Irish civil society to meet and to develop in partnership an Action Plan for the realisation of these global goals in Ireland?”
Supporting conscientious objection
War Resisters’ International (WRI) has put together a book entitled “Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements” and is trying to raise funds which will allow it to send the book, for free, to CO movements internationally (some of whom don’t have safe access to the internet). See here.
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