Foreign Affairs refuse to reveal details of US military at Shannon
Shannonwatch have expressed grave concern about the ongoing refusal of the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide access to information about US military flights through Shannon. Citing the creation and maintenance of trust and confidence between governments the department have said they will not provide records requested under freedom of information (FOI) because it would hamper the international relations of the State. In his response to an appeal of the original decision to refuse the FOI request last August, the Deputy Director of the International Security Policy Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Robert Jackson, claimed that the public interest in maintaining the "mutuality of trust with regard to communications between States" outweighed the public interest in disclosing information about the military flights.
"It's impossible to see how making aircraft details public could affect our relations with the US, or any other state, if what they tell us about the planes not being engaged in military operations is true" said Clare Daly TD who made the FOI requests. A Red C poll earlier this year found that 57% of the Irish people oppose the United States use of Shannon Airport for military transit purposes. The figure excludes the 'Don't Knows' which were at 4%.
John Lannon of Shannonwatch said "The covert nature of the US military use of the airport since 2002 demonstrates that Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour have no interest in protecting Irish neutrality. In fact the opposite is the case; they have gone against the will of the Irish people by giving a militarised super-power unrestricted access to Shannon and Irish airspace. www.shannonwatch.org
Shannonwatch mark 15 years of US use of Shannon for war
Shannonwatch are organising a number of events for the 15th anniversary of the Afghan war: On Saturday 8th October from 14:00 - 17:00 there is a seminar and discussion on US imperialism and militarisation at the Bunratty Castle Hotel (Bunratty). Speakers will include Robert Fantina of World Beyond War, a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace, and Gearóid O'Colmáin, an Irish journalist living in Paris [Attendance is free but please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending]. 19:00 onwards: Celebration of Peace - an evening of food, music and conversation in a Peace Tent at Shannon. A number of people intend to hold an overnight peace vigil in tents that will be provided at Shannon on Saturday night / Sunday morning. On Sunday 9th October from 13:00 - 15:00 there is a Peace Rally, gathering at Shannon Town Centre (car park next to Lidl) at 13:00 and walking to the airport. Family-friendly. Bring banners, bugles and peace flags. www.shannonwatch.org
Update from the Stop the Drill Campaign at Woodburn
Having failed to find any of its projected 25 million barrels of oil or gas equivalent at Woodburn Forest (near Carrickfergus) and having stopped drilling at the site in mid-June, the lead drill company Infrastrata has announced recently that it has abandoned oil and gas exploration completely. It is continuing with a gas storage project at nearby Islandmagee, using underground salt caverns for gas storage. There is some uncertainty where this leaves the PL1/10 oil and gas exploration licence which stretches across Mid Antrim from Lough Neagh to Larne Lough that Infrastrata agreed with the Department of the Economy in 2011.
Campaigners were vindicated in their action of 12th June when they exercised their right of way on the access lane into Woodburn Forest. As reported in the July issue of Nonviolent News, seven campaigners were arrested that day, with five being held in custody until early the following morning. Four of the five have now had all their charges dropped, with the fifth having charges of 'Breach of the Peace' and 'escaping from lawful custody' dropped. It would now appear that the Public Prosecution Service have found that there were no grounds for the arrests and that the escape was in fact from 'unlawful custody' - an ambitious but brief bid for freedom by jumping out of the back of a police car! Some other campaigners face public order charges arising from actions at Woodburn and hopefully these will also be dropped in due course.
Mairead Maguire on Gaza women's boat
Mairead Maguire, Peace People co-founder and Nobel laureate, is on the Zaytouna international women's boat to Gaza, due in Israeli waters imminently as Nonviolent News was produced. Meanwhile it is reported the Israeli navy has been ordered to intercept the boat and arrest those on board. In a statement Mairead Maguire said "I passionately believe peace is possible between Palestine and Israel and in our world amongst the human family. That is why I am sailing to Gaza in the Zaytouna, the Freedom Flotilla women's boat to Gaza. My friends on this journey of peace are 13 peace loving, courageous, women from many countries…." www.peacepeople.com and wbg.freedomflotilla.org
Mairead Maguire's International Day of Peace message from Assisi and the Thirst for Peace conference attended by Pope Francis.
Corrymeela events coming up
Open events over the next couple of month include; retreats of different kinds; a weekend course which will explore methodologies of narrative practice that are relevant for teamwork, community development, and conflict situations; a Global Mediation Training (Dialogue for Peaceful Change) workshop which will give valuable tools of mediation and conflict analysis to people in various sectors; the start of a new public theology seminar (in Belfast); and the Corrymeela Christmas Open Day on Sunday 4th December, from 2pm to 5pm. All Corrymeela open events are listed on the website www.corrymeela.org and for additional information, please contact the Belfast Office on 028 9050 8080 or email email@example.com
MII welcomes Mediation Bill
The Mediators' Institute of Ireland (MII) has welcomed the announcement that the Mediation Bill will be published this autumn and is included in the Government's legislative programme as Priority Legislation for publication in this Dáil session. "This legislation will promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient adjunct to court proceedings and the enactment of the Bill has the potential to divert many civil and commercial disputes from our courts and save billions in the process," said Sabine Walsh, President of the MII. She added, "There appears to be widespread political support in the Oireachtas for the Bill and the MII now looks forward to working with the government and opposition parties to fine tune the Bill and expedite it as efficiently as possible through both houses of the Oireachtas."www.themii.ie
The invaluable Housmans Peace Diary
Housmans Peace Diary is an invaluable publication and aid to movements working for peace, social justice and the environment. The regularly updated 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 64th annual edition. The feature this year is on surveillance and infiltration of peace groups and campaigning groups by police and others. One copy of the diary is £8.95, postage is £1.50 extra per diary for 1-4 copies in UK postage area, £3 postage per diary elsewhere. Discounts for more copies. Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, ph 020 7837 4473, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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 in a fuller version. It is worth reading the background information on the website to get the best use out of it.
George Mitchell Institute winter school
The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast will run the third annual Winter School from 23rd to 27th January 2017. It will explore how some of the main issues that have been identified by the United Nations as being central to the process of peacebuilding and conflict transformation have been addressed over the past twenty years, with special reference to developments in Northern Ireland. This will include the process of reaching a peace agreement and establishing new institutions of governance, creating a broader framework for a peaceful and just society through building a culture of respect for human rights and equality and re-establishing the rule of law through a process of police reform, the challenges of addressing the legacy of conflict, and exploring the role of civil society organisations. See the website for details www.qub.ac.uk
Litigating for Social Change
This international conference takes place from Wednesday 19th October to Friday 21st October in Belfast; it brings together NGOs, community activists, litigators, academics, and funders to reflect on the extent to which strategic litigation has and can transform lives by enabling people and communities around the world to realise their rights. The conference will explore lessons that have been learnt to date. It will consider strategic litigation as an effective tool for social change and explore how it can be more effective. The conference will also consider models and approaches to supporting strategic litigation and assessing its impact. Organised by Law Centre (NI), Social Change Initiative, and Atlantic Philanthropies. See www.lawcentreni.org and to book: www.eventbrite.co.uk
LLOOF and WWOOF
LLOOF is a WWOOF Guide to Living and Learning on Organic Farms and WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms with a large range of down to earth (get it!) materials and videos. See lloof.eu and for WWOOF in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) see www.wwoof.ie
AVP/Alternatives to Violence Project upcoming events
Upcoming events with the Alternatives to Violence Project include basic level workshops in Shelton Abbey, Mountjoy, Cloverhill and Castlerea, 2nd levels in Wheatfield and Cloverhill, and a training for young facilitators to work with transition year students. HYPERLINK avpireland.ie
Global Peace Foundation response
A response from the Global Peace Foundation to the piece about it in the news section of Nonviolent News 242 appears after the Editorial in this issue.
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative of PCI
Pax Christi International has as a project the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative which "reaffirms the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus, to the life of the Catholic Church, and to the long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet." Online materials are available from the April 2016 conference in Rome and also webinars (the next on 11th October). See www.paxchristi.net and nonviolencejustpeace.net
Stop Climate Chaos: Ireland's "singular failure to act"
On the eve of Minister Denis Naughten's address at the annual Environment Ireland conference in September, Stop Climate Chaos (a coalition of 28 civil society organisations) sharply criticized the Government for what the campaigning coalition called its "singular failure to act" to reduce Ireland's climate pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced Ireland would fall 70% short of achieving its 2020 emissions target. Luxembourg is the only other EU member on track for failure. In fact, the Government still has no plan to reduce emissions, the National Climate Change Strategy expired in 2012 and has yet to be replaced. Rather than spurring action, this failure has been used by Ministers to make the case for an easier target for 2030. The European Commission has now caved in to the Government's special pleading on behalf of big agri-business. The EU's recent 2030 proposal would actually incentivise Ireland to increase emissions for the next two years.
Stop Climate chaos continues "The government's efforts to achieve concessions regarding greenhouse gas emissions are inexcusable given the suffering caused by climate change today in the poorest countries. In Ethiopia, where per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 80 times lower than Ireland's, 10 million people in that country - around twice the population of Ireland - are currently dependent on food aid due to persistent drought in a changing climate exacerbated by El Niño. These are the women and men on the frontline of a climate crisis they did not create."www.stopclimatechaos.ie
Convergence Sustainable Living Festival
The 21st Convergence Festival, organised by Cultivate, takes place from 13th - 28th October with 15 events and conversations that celebrate and connect the people and ideas creating resilient and sustainable communities across the country. Events take place in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cloughjordan, Donegal and Kerry. See www.cultivate.ie for details or contact email@example.com
Centre for Global Education (CGE), Belfast
The Centre for Global Education offers many different services. For example, for students there are courses and modules on international development in its library which carries a comprehensive range of books, journals, teaching packs and reports on global issues. The Centre for Global Education is at 9 University Street, Belfast, BT7 3AJ, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and website www.centreforglobaleducation.com
CGE's Global Learning Programme (GLP) delivers training and resources to primary, post-primary and special schools in Northern Ireland. Over 21% of the schools in Northern Ireland are currently participating in the GLP, with another 30 already registered for the November trainings which take place in Derry, Dungannon and Belfast; see www.globallearningni.com for details (click on 'Events').
WRI: Antimilitarism and climate change
War Resisters' International publication 'The Broken Rifle' (No.105) on 'Antimilitarism and climate change' can be downloaded from their site at www.wri-irg.org
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