US Vets for Peace in Ireland and two arrested at Shannon Airport
Half a dozen US Veterans For Peace (VFP) visitors were on tour in Ireland from 14th to 20th March with various speaking engagements about the proliferation of US wars that have led to the overthrow of several sovereign governments, the deaths of millions of people, massive infrastructural destruction and untold global environmental damage. The three most recent combat veterans recalled their experience of having been transported with their weapons via Shannon Airport, in direct violation of Irish neutrality.
They took part in a protest against the US Military Base at Shannon Airport on St Patrick’s Day, Sunday 17th March. Two of them were arrested for entering the airfield to inspect and investigate an OMNI Air International plane on contract to the U.S. military; the plane, tail number N351AX, arrived at Shannon Airport about 8.30 a.m. from Eielson US air force base in Faribanks Alaska, believed to be on its way to the Middle East with up to 300 armed US troops.
At about 10 am Ken Mayers (aged 82), a former Marine Corps Major and Tarak Kauff (aged 77), a former Army paratrooper, both members of US Veterans For Peace, entered the airfield carrying a large banner that said: “U.S. Veterans Say Respect Irish Neutrality - U.S. War Machine out of Shannon Airport - Veterans For Peace”. The two walked across the air field with the intent of inspecting the plane for weapons or munitions but were apprehended by airport security and Gardai. They were detained and interviewed at Shannon Garda station and held overnight for arraignment on charges of trespass and criminal damage. Both men were refused bail at Ennis District Court and spent nearly a fortnight in jail in Limerick. They were released on bail on 29th March but cannot at the moment leave Ireland. The next court hearing is on 4th May.
Monday and Tuesday, 8th and 9th April, have been declared “Get Ken and Tarak Home” days; people are asked to concentrate calls, letters, and visits to the responsible Irish bodies, Irish Embassies and Consulates, the US State Department, and elected officials on these days so that these institutions experience a flood of support for Tarak and Ken and protest against U.S. military flights through Shannon. See www.stopthesewars.org for further information and solidarity. Information here also from PANA www.pana.ie and Shannonwatch www.shannonwatch.org Veterans for Peace in Ireland has been involved in solidarity and support.
Meanwhile there was a protest by women from Clare and Galway including Raging Grannies who held a Day of Mourning at Shannon Airport on 8th March, International Women’s Day. Some protested at the entrance while another group, including Margaretta D’Arcy, went into the terminal building where they lay on the floor wearing white death masks and commenced wailing in memory of the hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children who have died as a result of US led resource wars in the Middle East. See www.shannonwatch.org
PBI: Human rights defending and peacebuilding course, Dublin
Peace Brigades International Ireland is launching a new course entitled “Making Space for Peace: Human rights defenders and peacebuilding.” The evening course will take place in Dublin over 5 weeks and will provide participants with an introduction to the world of human rights, peacebuilding and the role of civil society and social movements in the achievement of positive peace. It will be interactive and participatory with the aim of supporting participants to gain and practice skills integral to the approach of nonviolence and local peacebuilding. It will include an introduction to nonviolence and peace studies, the theory of protection and PBI’s model of international protective accompaniment, the role of human rights defenderss in peacebuilding (including advocacy) and key case studies from PBI’s work. It will run from 6.30 – 8.30pm on Wednesday evenings from 1st May at Comhlamh Offices, 12 Parliament Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. The fee is €45 (waged), €30 for Comhlamh members; €20 for student/unwaged. To reserve a place or get further details please get in touch by 24th April to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details. You can also ask to be put on the mailing list for news from PBI.
CRC Good Relations Award winners
Two women’s dedication to peace building and good relations education in rural areas of Northern Ireland has been recognised with the Community Relations Council’s (CRC) Exceptional Achievement award for 2019. Marion Jamison, from the outskirts of Armagh who has worked with REACT, and Charmain Jones from Portadown who has worked with the Rural Community network, have been working together and individually to contribute to positive relations both locally and regionally over a considerable period of time. www.community-relations.org.uk
Ireland ratifies Istanbul Convention on gender-based violence
On 8th March Ireland became the 34th country to ratify the Istanbul Convention which is the first international treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence. It sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution and the development of integrated policies. Countries ratifying the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of such violence. Fiona Crowley, Research and Legal Manager for Amnesty International Ireland said:
'For the Convention to be effective, ratification must be accompanied by real, practical steps by the Irish government. Women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence must be able to access support services, hotlines, medical services, counselling and legal aid. The government must also ensure enough resources for NGOs that provide these vital services
Chernobyl Children International
A new video from Chernobyl Children international detailing briefly some highlights of the organisation’s work in supporting the ongoing victims of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster can be seen at www.youtube.com See also the website at www.chernobyl-international.com CCI, 1A The Stables, Alfred Street, Cork.
Cultivate; Elements of Change Festival, Cloughjordan
On Saturday 29th June from 10.30am - 6pm, in Cloughjordan, Tipperary there is a new festival for reimagining our future to sustain happier, healthier communities. Alongside global movements what can we do to ensure our local areas are healthy, resilient and support our wellbeing? How can we connect to have meaningful work, local food and energy, and for our communities to be a positive force in these critical times?
This diverse day-long festival aims to weave a spectrum of elements together. It features keynote voices and vocals from Dave Roc, Mel White, Kiruu, Branwen and more to be announced. Tickets on sale now. Early bird discount ends April 15th. cultivate.ie
Troubles Art Exhibition, Nerve Visual Gallery, Derry
Drawn from the art collection at National Museums NI, the Troubles Art Exhibition provides a broad representation of responses to the Troubles by a range of artists from Northern Ireland and beyond. It is open Tuesday - Saturday, 11am-5pm and Sundays, 12-6pm and continues until 28th April. The Nerve Visual Gallery is at 80/81 Ebrington. nervecentre.org
Perceptions of Paramilitarism
The Winter/Spring 2019 issue of the newsletter from the Tackling Parmilitarism Programme has a summary on page 9 of the NI Department of Justice’s report on ‘Perceptions of Parmilitarism’ which makes useful reading. See here The full Department of Justice report is available here
Cross-party group support actual action on climate change...
A cross-party group of Irish parliamentarians have agreed recommendations which would set legally-binding limits every five years and hike the carbon tax, while providing strong support for green jobs and agriculture. (See here) The government will decide which of the recommendations to put into place. Irish climate action and environment minister Richard Bruton has said he intends to set climate targets across all government departments. Setting a net-zero target would mark a significant step change for Ireland which is on track to miss its EU-mandated goals for 2020 by a huge margin. After six months of debate, the majority of the committee backed a set of policies that aim to strike a balance between pressure on Ireland to speed up its emissions reductions and political fear of public protests like the gilet jaunes movement in France. Modelled on the UK’s climate change act, the committee’s report would create a new, independent Climate Action Council to monitor the government’s progress in reducing emissions.
Sadhbh O’Neill, an expert adviser to the parliamentary committee and a PhD candidate on environmental policy at University College Dublin said “The imposition of carbon budgets to meet a target of net zero emissions in 2050 will necessarily have a profound effect on policies and planned investments in transport, buildings and energy, especially given that Ireland’s emissions are increasing. There will be disappointment that the committee did not propose specific measures to tackle emissions from Ireland’s large agriculture and land use sectors, such as a cap on the rising herd numbers. However, the committee does call for a drastic change in the direction of policies in favour of diversification, peatland restoration and sustainable afforestation.” Source: Climate Action Ireland email@example.com
War Resisters’ International (WRI)
A short summary of some of the work WRI did in 2018 can be seen at www.wri-irg.org You can receive regular updates by subscribing to email newsletters at www.wri-irg.org/subscribe Meanwhile the WRI 2019 Assembly meeting, and a public conference exploring antimilitarist responses to the problems facing Colombia, Latin America, and of course the whole world, takes place from 29th July to the 3rd August in Bogota, Colombia.
Pax Christi manifesto for Euro elections
Pax Christi International, the International Catholic Movement for Peace, with a number of member organisations and sections in the European Union, has released a manifesto calling for "The Europe We Want" in anticipation of May’s European Parliament elections. The manifesto encourages candidates and citizens to choose for a renewed European project based on solidarity, fraternity and peace. See here
Afri Famine Walk, Co Mayo
The Afri Famine Walk from Louisburgh to Doolough, Co Mayo (approximately 11 miles) will take place this year on Saturday 18th May and the full programme will be available in mid-April. www.afri.ie
PANA NI statement on 70th anniversary of NATO
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance Northern Ireland issued a statement on 4th April, the 70th annivesary of the foundation of NATO. This includes the following; “NATO promoted the militarisation of Europe, the growth and continuation of the arms race and increased the threat of war and nuclear terror. NATO remains committed to an interventionist military agenda. NATO is not a “protector of the security of the peoples of Europe” as it provocatively and falsely claims. It is a dangerous enemy of peace, inflicting misery, poverty, aggression and war.
NATO, since its formation, has acted as a mechanism of US military power. It has enlarged rapidly and significantly in an effort to expand its reach. In its drive for global domination NATO has demanded an increase in military spending and expects its member states to increase military spending to at least 2% of their national income, ignoring the crises in health, education and housing. NATO demands money for more weapons of death and mass destruction regardless of the cost to the lives of ordinary people.
...EU policy is increasingly tied to NATO. NATO’s 2018 Summit Declaration described the EU as a “unique and essential partner for NATO”. The aggressive eastwards expansion of NATO, coupled with the increased militarisation of the European Union, with demands for a European army and the ratcheting up of the arms race, has led to a serious escalation of tensions in Europe and has dramatically increased the possibility of war.”
New staff member at the Centre for Global Education (CGE)
Rosie McCreanor has been welcomed onto the CGE staff team as Global Learning Schools' Advisor on the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) Programme. Her primary role on the CCGL programme will be to support schools through their international partnership projects from application to completion. A qualified post primary Geography teacher, global educator and environmentalist, Rosie has an established track record as a global educator and facilitator, including working for 16 years with Trócaire as their Northern Education Officer. Centre for Global Education, 9 University Street, Belfast BT7 3AJ. firstname.lastname@example.org and /www.centreforglobaleducation.com
Christy Moore on ecology, justice
Ruairí McKiernan's Love and Courage podcast interviewing Christy Moore can be heard at YouTube www.youtube.com and in other formats. Source: Afri http://www.afri.ie
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