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(Issues 58-107)
(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Issue 133: October 2005

Institute of Irish Studies and INNATE get into conflict
‘Directions through conflict’ is the title of the Institute of Irish Studies (at Queen’s University Belfast) autumn seminar series being run in association with INNATE. All meetings take place at the Institute of Irish Studies (Seminar Room 1), 53-67 University Road, Belfast at 4.00 p.m. (until around 5.30) and are on Tuesdays except for the session on 30th November which is on a Wednesday. Sessions are as follows: 18th October – Nonviolence – the possible dream, with Rob Fairmichael (INNATE); 25th October - Finding peace in Northern Ireland: The dark side of community, with Dr Dominic Bryan (IIS); 8th November – Nice, NATO and neutrality, with Michael Kennedy (RIA); 15th November – ‘Borders and security, 1923-1956’, with Prof Eunan O’Halpin (TCD); 22nd November – A place for reconciliation? Conflict and locality in Northern Ireland, with Dr Brandon Hamber (Healing Through Remembering) and Grainne Kelly; 30th November (Wednesday) – Mediation in Northern Ireland with Brendan McAllister (Mediation Northern Ireland); 6th December – Dealing with the past, with Paul Arthur (UU). Details from the secretary of the IIS/Institute of Irish Studies at 028 – 9097 3386. All welcome, admission free.

MII what a conference
The 7th Annual Mediators Institute Ireland conference takes place on Saturday 26th (starting around 10.00 a.m) and Sunday 27th November (finishing 3.15 p.m.) at the Heritage Hotel. Portlaoise, Co Laois. The keynote address is by Dr Larry Fong from Canada on ‘Hope in mediation’ with other inputs from Helen Harnett, Fiona McAuslan, Geoffrey Corry, Joe Behan, Thomas Smith, Julie McAuliffe, Niamh Cunningham, Ewan Malcolm, Bill McLaughlin, Deborah Watters, John Horgan, Rachel Lofthouse, Gabriel Kiely, Patricia Hayes and Treasa Kenny. Topics include mediating in an intercultural context, creative solutions to conflict for children, commercial case study, workplace mediation, Milan Systemic Theory, bullying power and mediation, restorative justice, volunteer mediators, social change and the family. The non-residential fee for the full conference is €315 for MII members and €355 for non-members with reduced rates for Saturday or Sunday only; accommodation needs to be booked separately. Details from Anne Walsh, MII Secretary, 22 Carrig Villas, Killincarrig, Greystones, Co Wicklow, ph 01 - 2017526, fax 2828952, e-mail and web Bookings should be made by 7th November to avoid €25 late registration fee.

Solace at Solas
The weekend of 11th and 12th November sees the coming together of three lynchpins of the Irish development sector to mark 30 years of each organisation: Afri, Comhlamh, and Development Studies Centre (DSC) Kimmage will host SOLAS 2005, a conference featuring keynote speakers from the Irish and international development sectors, a challenging and engaging series of workshops, music and cultural interludes, discussions, meetings and the exchange of ideas, opinions and strategies. This takes place on Friday 11th November, evening, and Saturday 12th November, all day, at All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin. Speakers include Rakiya Omaar, Yao Graham, Denis Halliday, Eamon Stack, Hans Zomer and Dier Tong. A 2-day ticket costs €30. Bookings should be made to Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, phone 01 – 8827563, e-mail

Ploughshares plough on through trials and tribulations
Once again the Pitstop Ploughshares Five - Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran, Ciaron O'Reilly - are on trial in Dublin following the mistrial in the spring (see NN 127 & 128). The trial starts at the Four Courts on 24th October and there will be an anti-war vigil each morning at The Spire, O'Connell Street. People will move off in a single file silent peace procession at 9.15am, each morning of the trial. Check for venues and times of evening events during the trial. There will be a benefit gig on Thursday 13th October at 8 pm in the Lower Deck Pub, near Portobello College, Dublin. There is an urgent need of funds to bring relevant witnesses to court to testify to the nature of the high crimes inflicted in Iraq and to facilitate outreach in the lead up to and throughout the trial. Please consider donating to: "Ploughshares Defence Fund", 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7. Donations can also be lodged at any Bank of Ireland branch: "Ploughshares Defence Fund", Account No. 80965573, Sort Code 900551. Solidarity actions welcome. More information: and e-mail Phone mobile - 087 918 4552 or landline 01-4549144.

ICCL: Guarding the Guards
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties made a submission on the Garda Siochana Act (2005) in early 2005 before it had been passed by Dail Eireann. This is a significant piece of legislation as it is the first reform of the gardai since 1922 and comes after such high profile scandals as the McBrearty Case, which exposed Garda corruption in Donegal. It incorporates all aspects of policing, including personnel, complaints procedure and community policing.

A positive element of the Act is the stipulation that Gardai must pay due attention to human rights when carrying out their duties. The Act also outlines provisions for community policing and new arrangements for consulting with the public.

However there are many aspects of the Act the ICCL has reservations about, such as the lack of accountability to gardai who discriminate against ethnic minorities and travellers. This is disappointing, considering that ethnic minorities now make up a considerable proportion of our society. A disturbing aspect of the Act is the major change in the relationship of the gardai to the Minister for Justice. In a democratic society it is important that the Police Force remain independent of any government department and this has traditionally been the case in Ireland. The Garda Siochana Act 2005, however, radically changes the relationship between the Gardai and the Minister for Justice now. The Garda Commissioner is supposed to be independent and free from political interference but s/he must now report directly to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The ICCL has for many years advocated the introduction of an independent Garda Ombudsperson and welcomed this introduction in the Garda Siochana Act, however the Act introduces an Ombudsperson Commission which is made up of a three person team, not one individual, which is the case for every other statutory body. The complaints procedure for this commission we feel is over complicated and could prove ineffective, with complaints getting tied up in over-complicated procedures.

The Act fails to establish a national authority for managing the gardai. This goes against best practice in policing which has been proven in other countries.

The important issue now is the implementation of the Act and the length of time this will take to occur. The ICCL welcomes the appointment of Senator Maurice Hayes as the Chairperson of the Garda Siochana Act 2005 Implementation Group to oversee the implementation of this piece of legislation.

- Individual subscriptions to ICCL are €31.74 and €6.35 unwaged. ICCL, Dominick Court, 40-41 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1, ph 01 – 8783136, fax 8783109, e-mail and web [A fuller version of this piece appears in the e-mail and web editions.]

CAJ-oling on human rights
CAJ's annual meeting is being held on 25th October and is being addressed this year by Imran Khan, the solicitor in the
Stephen Lawrence case. Mr Khan is now active on a number of high profile cases in England and will be speaking on the international "war on terror"; he is very keen to learn something of the NI experience. CAJ's annual meeting is only open to members, but why not join up? It only costs £20 for employed and £5 for unwaged, and you get monthly newsletters and an annual report keeping you up to date on human rights and civil liberties issues in Northern Ireland. CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice, 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2BR, ph 028 – 9096 1122, fax 9024 6706, web

Shared Space
The Community Relations Council in Northern Ireland has started producing a new academic-style review entitled “Shared Space – a research journal on peace, conflict and community relations in Northern Ireland”, edited by Ray Mullan, with plenty of interesting material. The first edition is dated August 2005, 96 pages, A5, and contains papers on new interface areas, strategies for sharing Belfast, community-based approaches to ‘truth-telling’, exploring community relations among 16-year olds, and NGOs and ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. It retails at £5. Orders can go to the Community Relations Resource Centre, 21 College Square East, Belfast BT1 6DE (the place to browse for community relations material), ph 028 – 90 22 75 55, e-mail

West Papua Action: Petition to UN Secretary General
West Papua Action in Ireland is promoting an online petition to the UN Secretary General to initiate a review into the UN’s conduct in relation to the “Act of ‘Free’ Choice” in West Papua, 1968-69, which copperfastened Indonesian control but in no way represented the will of the people of West Papua and helped to justify brutal repression and murder. The petition is available at and further information is available at More background detail is provided in “The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua, 1962-1969” by Dr. John Saltford. De-classified US documents released in 2004 and edited by Brad Simpson have further underlined the complicity. The US Embassy in Jakarta for example told the US State Department in a cable dated July 2, 1969 that “[private] political views of the UN team are… 95 per cent of the Irianese support the independence movement and that the Act of Free Choice is a mockery”. West Papua Action, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, ph 01 - 860 3431, e-mail and web http:/

Human Rights Education Conference
A major cross border human rights education conference takes place at Dublin Castle on 20th October organised by Lift Off initiative and Human Rights Commissions North and South, aiming to encourage human rights education in all education sectors in Ireland, and may be of interest to policy-makers, teachers and others. Check before booking as closing date is arriving. The fee for the day is €35/UK£25. Contact: Maura Argue, Amnesty International, 48 Fleet Street, Dublin 2, 01 – 677 6361, e-mail or Deirdre McAliskey, Amnesty International, 397 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GP, ph 028 – 9064 3000, e-mail

Feasta: Oil energy and Ireland’s future
As usual Feasta is hitting the oil on the barrel with its conference on Wednesday 12th October, from 9.30 – 17.15, on ‘Energy Prices and Ireland’s Future’ (as part of the 9th Convergence Sustainable Living festival, see ). Places are free but limited, contact Feasta at 01 – 405 3615. This is followed by a lecture at 8.00 pm by a lecture by Michael Meacher on ‘Oil, Climate and Food’ (fee €15), both events at the Cultivate Centre, 15 – 19 Essex street West, Dublin 8. Feasta, 10a Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2, ph 01 – 405 3615, e-mail and web

Corrymeela 40th anniversary service, Belfast
The Corrymeela Community has a 40th Anniversary service at St. John’s (Presbyterian) Church, Newtownbreda (near the top of the Ormeau Road), Belfast at 10.15 am. on Sunday 16th October. It will be broadcast live on Radio Ulster. Corrymeela leader David Stevens will be the speaker and there will be involvement from Corrymeela musicians and members. Corrymela, 8 Upper Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NT, phone 028 – 9050 8080 and e-mail


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