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Dawn Train

Issue 156: February 2008


Cluster bomb treaty conference for Dublin in May
The origin of the movement towards a total ban on cluster bombs is the international conference organised by Pax Christi Ireland in Dublin in 2003.  Cluster bombs are weapons packed in a container which could vary from dozens to hundreds and are delivered from the air or fired by artillery or rockets.  The container breaks open dispersing the bombs over a wide area covering one to three football fields.  They are supposed to explode just before, after or on impact.  A big number do not and remain alive and continue to kill innocent people and children for decades.

The efforts to negotiate a prohibition on cluster bombs failed within the US process in 2006 giving birth to the Oslo Process in February 2007 involving like minded countries. As a member of the core group of the process, Ireland will host one of the meetings of the governments from 19th to 30th May this year in Dublin which will continue the work towards a ban.

Belgium, a NATO country, banned cluster bombs; the law came into force on 9th June 2006. Austrian law banning cluster bombs came into force on 6th December 2007.  Pax Christi Ireland had urged the Irish government in December 2006 to enact a unilateral ban on cluster bombs.  It again urged the government to have the political and moral courage to enact a law banning them in December 2007.  Ireland followed Belgium and banned landmines in June 1996, fifteen months before the text of the Mine Ban Treaty was finalised.  This had a significant impact towards getting a total ban on landmines in which Ireland had played a very important role. We expect Ireland to lead towards a total global ban of cluster bombs.

Please write individually or as organisations to the Minister for Foreign Affairs supporting a strong and inclusive treaty banning cluster bombs to take immediate effect. There is the danger that countries with vested interests in their manufacture or use may try to get let out clauses inserted in a treaty so that their use could continue under another name, or be delayed for some years.  Address; Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, Dublin 2.  You can also get organised to support the process in May through offering hospitality to international NGOs who will be present, or actions to support the process (information and awareness, street theatre etc).

Further information; Pax Christi Ireland, 52 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, ph 01 – 496 42 93, fax 496 54 92,

War on Terror: Lessons from Northern Ireland
One of the commonest desires of people who have lived through a tragedy is that people learn from it. Unfortunately it would not appear that the learning from the Troubles in Northern Ireland has been great, which is why CAJ’s “War on Terror – Lessons from Northern Ireland” is so important. Based on local input to an Eminent Jurists Panel of the International Commission of Jurists, this book (there is also an executive summary available, in paper or on the website) is an important enunciation not just of principles but of best practice in both learning from, and avoiding the mistakes which were made in, Northern Ireland.  ISBN 978-1-873285-10-7,  126 pages, £15 (plus postage). Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2BR,  ph 028 – 90961122,  and web

The past year has been a time of transition for Glencree, both within the organisation and in the outside environment.  We bade farewell to Máirín Colleary at the end of August, after 4 years of hard work and numerous achievements as chief executive.  In January 2008 we welcomed and are delighted to be working with Dr. David Bloomfield.  Originally from Belfast, David joins us from the Berghof Research Centre for Conflict Management in Berlin and has many years of peacebuilding experience in Ireland and abroad.

The environment in which we work has changed dramatically in recent years.  In Northern Ireland, we all saw the seismic political shift to a new power-sharing government at Stormont last May.  In the Republic, too, social, economic and demographic changes over recent years present us with a new set of social issues requiring attention, arising from wealth differentials, immigration, and the challenges of intercultural understanding. And in the global context, there has been a wide recognition of the relevance of advice based on the Irish experience of peacemaking, peacebuilding and conflict transformation, which is putting direct and increasing demands upon Glencree.

We remain fundamentally committed to the simple principle that violence does not lead to sustainable and effective solutions to conflict, but now more than ever we have huge opportunities to promote our essential, experience-based message around the globe.

Glencree’s current work is characterised by three areas of activity:

  • Reconciliation and dialogue within and between these islands: We are developing a new project for EU Peace III funding that would bring together three Peace Centres: Glencree, Corrymeela Community and The Donegal Peace Centre at An Teach Ban.
  • Managing and promoting integration in Ireland: We are working with SPIRASI on inter-cultural dialogue with new communities in Ireland, especially the Dublin area.  We are continuing our Peace Education work with youth leaders and school groups; this is experiential learning about racism, bullying, bias, justice and conflict.
  • International peacebuilding: We continue to work with politicians, policy-makers, local organisations and individuals in Liberia, Israel/Palestine, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Basque Country and elsewhere.

These activities represent a natural extension of our virtually unique strength: three decades of experience in bringing people together in dialogue to cultivate relationships across social, economic, political and psychological divides.

These new challenges and demands are very exciting opportunities which Glencree must grasp.

Contact: David Bloomfield, Chief Executive, Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Glencree, Co. Wicklow,    ph 01 2829711, fax 01 2766085, and web:

INCORE Summer School
The International Summer School 2008 will be taking place from Monday 16th June to Friday 20th June. INCORE will offer three separate one-week courses: Evaluation and Impact Assessment of Peacebuilding Programmes; Reconciliation in Societies Coming Out of Conflict; and Transitioning from a Post-Settlement to a Post-Conflict Society. The courses will run concurrently. The Summer School is recognised by UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) Programme of Correspondence Instruction in Peacekeeping Operations, and may form part of The Certificate-of-Training In Peace Support Operations (COTIPSO) Programme. The school provides an intensive week of training, networking and discussion in the field of conflict resolution. It attempts to bridge the gap between policy, practice and research. Applications are now open. For further details on modules and how to apply please click here.

The collapse of the war system
Seán English, lecturer in peace studies at Saor-Ollscoil na hÉireann, has written “The collapse of the war system -Developments in the philosophy of peace in the twentieth century” (credited as John Jacob English). 274 pages, ISBN 978-1-905451-53-1, €15, Saor-Ollscoil in association with Choice Publishing.  This wide-ranging, comprehensive and comprehensible book deserves to be read by anyone concerned with violence, and peaceful alternatives, in today’s world. Can be ordered from or contact the author at

Corrymeela St. Patrick's Weekend Retreat
Invitation to a St. Patrick’s retreat at the Corrymeela Centre, Ballycastle on Friday 14 - 16th March. The Peregrinus Rian: A pilgrimage to find our way in this day and age. A time to explore and experience celtic spirituality in a new and living way.  If you are feel that you are sometimes living in exile, alienated or need more for your faith journey, come along and walk with us this weekend on the Peregrinus Rian.  For more information, please email, or call Becca at 028 2076 2626.

World Religion Day in Kerry
8pm on Sunday 24th February at St Brendan’s Pastoral Centre, Upper Rock Street, Tralee is an opportunity to celebrate with an hour of readings, music, & prayer from the major world faiths: Hindu, Islam, Buddhist, Bahá’í, Judaism & Christianity on the theme of hope within these great religious traditions. Everybody welcome.
Also listen in to Just A Thought, Radio Kerry from 19-23 February (7.30am & 12 noon) to be given by people from these different world faiths. Organised by the Kerry Diocesan Justice, Peace & Creation Committee, Tralee Inter-faith Group & the Tralee Bahá’í  Community.
Kerry Earth Day is being planned on the theme of the Bog, in Lyrecrompaner on 10th May. Keep up to date via the Justice, Peace & Creation pages on & follow links to ‘Justice Peace’ under ‘Organisations’.

The price of our souls – Gas, Shell and Ireland
Written by Michael McCaughan, and published by Afri (123 pages), this is an important and readable book on the campaign in relation to Corrib Gas at Erris and related issues.  If you want the background and the current situation, read this book. Then give it to a friend – or someone who thinks it’s a non-issue.  Price €10 plus postage.  Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, ph 01 – 882 7563/7581, e-mail and web

Shelling out
Gluaiseacht are mobilising people from all over Ireland to travel to Shell Headquarters in London on St Patrick's Day to protest the giveaway and mismanagement of Irish national resources. They will be carrying a 200ft pipeline to Shell's front door. If you can't get to London, there's a call out for solidarity actions to happen at St Paddy's Day parades, Shell offices & garages and Irish Embassies all over the world during this weekend. See here (click on news item or February 2008 archives); also more generally here (Shell to Sea) (Rossport Solidarity Camp) and  (Indymedia Ireland coverage)

Towards a nuclear free future
Remember the well-organised international peace walk with the above title which passed from Dublin to Belfast and across to Scotland and England last year (see NN 149)? Well this year it’s from London to Geneva via France, starting on 26th April and arriving 16th July.  They seek to publicise and oppose the mining of uranium, the enrichment process, nuclear power plants, the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the disposal of radioactive waste; “We will work together with local communities to raise public awareness about the suffering and coercion that communities through out the world face by the nuclear industry.”  There is also the opportunity to walk part of the 84 day, 1500 km journey with them. Contact or or visit

Broad support for Northern Environmental Protection Agency
The chorus of support for a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grew louder in Northern Ireland at the start of February with the publication of twenty-one statements of support for the proposal from influential stakeholders drawn from all sectors. Political leaders, captains of industry, consumer champions, anglers and representatives of the rural community all lined up to pledge their support for a new EPA in the North. The endorsements are published ahead of a decision by Environment Minister Arlene Foster on whether to establish a new independent environmental watchdog for the region. The statements are published by the alliance of green groups that has been campaigning for the creation of an EPA; for further details see Friends of the Earth's website.

Cross-border primary schools human rights project
Lift Off, a unique cross border human rights education initiative jointly produced by Amnesty International, the Irish National Teachers Organisation and the Ulster Teacher’s Union will be launched by Northern Ireland Minister for Education, Caitríona Ruane, on 20th February. The initiative is aimed at educating primary school students across the island about their human rights and independent research has shown its value in reducing conflict in schools and in bolstering children’s self-esteem. Lift Off consists of three separate human rights education packs, including lesson plans, materials and posters for children from the ages of 4-7, 8-10 and 11-12. For further information please contact: Justin Moran, Communications Co-ordinator, Amnesty International, ph 01 863 8300, mobile 085 814 8986


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