Please note this is a short supplement with mainly time-limited or immediate information, not a full issue (the next one will appear at the start of February)
US at Shannon busier….and vigils for peace after Suleimani killing
PANA, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, mentions that Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch has reported an increasing build-up of US war planes refuelling at Shannon airport on their way to the Middle East following the US attack which killed Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis (among others). Edward Horgan states ‘this assassination by the US military is a very serious breach of international law, however unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran does have the military and air power capacity to attack European allies of the US, including Ireland. The Irish Government should act now by withdrawing permission for US military use of Shannon airport.’ Roger Cole, Chairperson of PANA condemned the US air raid at Baghdad airport against an official of a sovereign state Iran on the territory of yet another sovereign state Iraq.
There will be a vigil outside the USA Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin with the theme “No War on Iran” on Thursday 9th January at 7pm, organised by PANA. www.pana.ie
Meanwhile the monthly peace vigil at Shannon Airport opposing US military use of the airport takes place on Sunday 12th January at 2pm organised by Shannonwatch. www.facebook.com and twitter.com/shannonwatch
See also the short editorial below.
Afri Féile Bríde - Rekindling; Revitalising; Re-wilding; Restoring
Afri’s Féile Bríde takes place at Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare Town on Saturday 7th February. “Féile Bríde 2020 will be a response to Greta Thunberg’s call to action. This will be the first year of the decade of real change. We must rekindle the flame; revitalize our energies; re-wild whenever and wherever possible and restore our awesome planet to its former glory. We must in the words of poet Brendan Kennelly ‘begin again,’ because ‘something that will not acknowledge conclusion / insists that we forever begin.’” Musicians will include Cormac Breatnach, Steve Cooney, Emer Lynam and Roger Whelan and speakers will be Clare O’Grady Walshe, Mary Reynolds, Nellie McLoughlin, Shivam O’Brien, and Michael Long. Registration will begin at 9.35 for a 10.00 am start and the programme will run to 4.30pm. Organised in partnership with St. Patrick’s Missionary Society Kiltegan and Cairde Bríde. Feíle Bríde is a part of a week-long series of events taking place in Kildare organised by the Brigidine Sisters and Cairde Bríde. Further details and booking on the Afri website www.afri.ie Afri is at 8 Cabra Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, D07 T1W2, ph 01 83 84 204.
Meanwhile a 12 minute film looking back on Afri’s work and programme in 2019 is available at www.youtube.com
AVP – Alternatives to Violence Project
In 2019 AVP Ireland ran 46 workshops in almost all Irish Prisons throughout the country and 1 workshop in partnership with Care After Prison for service providers, service users and potential AVP volunteers. Currently around 70 active volunteer facilitators are supporting the organisation inside and outside prisons. 2019 was a very active year, ahead of schedule, due to an overall high demand of workshops throughout the country. Beyond the number of workshops provided, the focus has also been on improving the quality of the training. Overall, AVP has managed to build a strong sense of community among the teams of facilitators and continue to have good to excellent working relationships with the prisons it are working in.
For 2020, AVP’s Service Level Agreement with IPS has been renewed and funding increased. AVP’s hectic schedule of workshops continues. If you want to take part in one of the workshops, please contact AVP as below. You need to have completed the whole application process to be able to take part and the training starts with a Basic workshop (1st level). Upcoming workshops include 10th-12th January, 2nd level, Castlerea prison (fully booked); 10th-12th January, Male Awareness, Limerick Prison; 17th-19th January, 2nd level, Mountjoy PU (fully booked); 24th-26th January, Male Awareness, the Midlands; 24th-26th January, 2nd level, Cork; 7th-9th February, Male Awareness, Wheatfield; 14th-16th February, Basic workshop, Portlaoise (fully booked); 21st-23rd February, T4F, the Midlands; 28th Feb-1st March, Male Awareness, Mountjoy PU. March and April dates to be confirmed.
The full AVP report for 2019 is available at avpireland.ie/annual-report-2019 For the general website see avpireland.ie which has a contact button.
Climate groups demand halt to Cork fracked gas projects
A coalition of international climate activist groups released a letter on 2oth December demanding the Port of Cork cancel its arrangement with NextDecade to build fracked gas infrastructure in the Cork harbour. The letter was signed by groups such as Food & Water Europe, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Better Path Coalition, Oil Change International, Food & Water Action, Not Here Not Anywhere, FracTracker Alliance, Extinction Rebellion Ireland, Environment Texas, Cork Climate Action — points out that approving fossil fuel projects that will last for decades is incompatible with global efforts to combat the climate crisis. The lifespan of a project like Cork LNG is at least 30 years, which would increase Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels and slow the development of renewable energy projects.
NextDecade plans to build a floating gas storage unit and a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal import terminal. The fracked gas would originate in the United States, where fracking has been linked to an array of health problems and water contamination. Methane emissions at every point of the fracking process are tied to the overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the climate crisis. New LNG exports will spur additional fracking, as 80% of the increased exports from the United States will come from new fracked wells. Recent research shows that this gas is 40% more damaging to the climate than coal. The Cork facility is one of two currently proposed highly controversial LNG import terminals in Ireland. Info from Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland email@example.com
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Editorial: The myth of redemptive violence
The myth of redemptive violence is alive and well around the world as a new year and decade began. This is the idea that violence can make things ‘better’, can heal situations, can teach lessons and move things forward in a positive way. This peculiar idea exists on many sides in many different countries. It found particular expression in Donald Trump’s authorisation of the USA military drone strike which killed Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in Iraq.
Qassem Suleimani has of course been behind many military developments and actions in the region but the idea that this killing was either justified or something which would teach Iran a ‘lesson’ was, is, delusional. Donald Trump has upped the ante in the Middle East and made resolution of existing issues and problems that much more difficult. This is before any possible reprisals by Iran and its allies takes place. Donald Trump has scant regard for any international law but the threat to destroy Iran’s heritage as part of any ‘response to a response’ was a further indication of his lack of decent human values – or adherence to international law. His statement in relation to the killing that “We took action….to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war” is not borne out by the available facts or by the reaction to the killing of a popular Iranian leader.
We don’t have to look too far to see support for the USA’s disastrous foreign military exploits. The Irish Government should be hanging its head in shame at its complicity in US jingoistic and neo-imperialist military enterprises through it permitting US military usage of Shannon Airport, no questions asked. Of course this is not least in relation to the 2003 Iraq War which did so much to destabilise the whole region. Foreign military usage of Shannon is a direct negation of Irish neutrality (a policy supported by a considerable majority of Irish people) and a totally cowardly failure to stand up to the world’s greatest superpower mainly because of US economic interests in Ireland. There is an old term for this; it is called selling your soul to the devil. It is in effect an active stand for injustice and violence in the world.
Irish neutrality has consistently been shown by opinion polls to be positively supported by a considerable majority in Ireland. What we need is politicians with the courage to put this fully into practice in the modern era, both in relation to the USA and to the EU’s developing military agenda. The implication of this, of course, is that we need an Irish public who make their wishes to politicians clear and effective.
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