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

Number 164: 5th November 2008

MII Conference: Building Bridges
The MII/Mediators’ Institute of Ireland 10th Annual Conference takes place from 14th to 16th November 2008 in the Clarion Hotel, Sligo. The aim of the conference is to stimulate general discussion and debate on diverse aspects of mediation, providing workshops to increase practical skills in different areas of practice and to allow mediators and practitioners an opportunity to network and share understandings and expertise. The conference will be opened by Nuala O’Loan and the keynote speaker is Bob Benjamin. Workshop leaders, covering a wide variety of topics, include Peter O’Reilly, Patricia Hayes, Tony Whatling, Timothy de Haut, Eimear Hayden, Geoffrey Corry, Nicola White, Fiona McAuslan, Brian Bennett and Martin Lang. Fees are €385 for the full conference for members, €450 for non-members, and separate rates for day participants. For full programme and booking information see the MII website at MII, Montana House, Whitechurch, Dublin 16, ph 01 – 2847121, e-mail

CAJ AGM report
CAJ held its annual general meeting on Monday 20th October 2008. At the meeting, the annual report was presented (available on the website and in paper copies) and the formal business of the organisation was conducted. Pat Conway is the new Chair and Barbary Cook was elected as Vice Chair. Kieran McEvoy stood down from the committee after many years of involvement and his contribution was gratefully acknowledged. In the afternoon an interesting discussion took place on the importance of a rights perspective on dealing with the legacy of the conflict. This was a timely discussion given the leaking of the recommendations of the Consultative Group on the Past that had appeared in the papers that morning. Kieran McEvoy spoke of the importance of Article 2 compliance in relation to any investigative mechanism that would be established under proposals arising out of the Consultative Group’s report. He also addressed the issue of immunity from prosecution and whether this could be viewed as being in line with a rights based approach. Paddy Hillyard spoke of the importance of addressing the social and economic legacy of the conflict. This was particularly important given the fact that the period since the ceasefires have been characterised by growing inequalities across a range of indicators. Subscriptions to CAJ remain at £20. CAJ, 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2BR, e-mail and web

PANA Annual Conference
PANA/Peace And Neutrality Alliance National Conference takes place in Dublin on Saturday 29th November from 11 am – 5.30 pm; admission is free, but donations will be requested. All welcome but votes are restricted to paid up members. The details are on the PANA website (the website has been upgraded and includes an option to receive an e-newssheet). Speakers are Kieran Allen, Roger Cole, Hans van Heijningen, Ed Horgan, Padraig Mannion, Mary Lou McDonald MEP, Patricia McKenna and Dr Andy Storey. For further information contact Roger Cole at 01-2351512 / 087-2611597. The Peace & Neutrality Alliance was established to advocate an independent Irish foreign policy, maintain Irish neutrality and promote a transformed United Nations as the organisation through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns.

Challenge of Violence seminar in Tralee
This takes place on Saturday 8th November from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm at St. John’s Parish Centre, Castle Street, Tralee. Registration from 9.30am; cost €5, includes a copy of the document on ‘Violence in Irish Society’. It will be opened by Bishop Bill Murphy and it is hosted by Kerry Diocesan Justice, Peace & Creation Committee. The seminar is open to the public and will be of particular interest to those concerned about the society they live in and who feel motivated to work for the common good. There will be various presentations, a panel discussion and local information stands. See and click on ‘Justice Peace’ under ‘Organisations’ or contact Sylvia Thompson, chair, at 086 082 0107 / 066 7137484.

Cohesion – Sharing – Integration is the title of a morning conference organised by the Peacemaking Panel of the Presbyterian Church, taking place on Saturday 8th November at the Jethro Centre, Flush place, Lurgan. What do the words in the title mean? Running from 9.30 am through to 1pm lunch, the topic will be explored with various community and church speakers including an address by the Moderator, Rt Rev Donald Patton and a keynote address by David Stevens. Contact: Laura Coulter, Peacemaking Department, Church House, Belfast BT1 6DW, email: or ph 028 - 9041 7211.

Amnesty International – NI
The Amnesty Regional Conference takes place on 29th November at 10.00 am at Clanmil Housing Association, Waring Street, Belfast; a conference for all members, supporters and those curious about Amnesty to find out about our campaigns. All welcome but bring some food to share for lunch. Pride in Riga, is part of the Outburst festival throughout November, at the John Hewitt; it documents where Amnesty activists from all over the world travelled to Riga to show solidarity for the Latvian LGBT community who had not been allowed to celebrate Pride until 2005 and had to meet with intimidating homophobic counter demonstrations by neo-Nazis. "We Are All Born Free" is an outstanding and beautiful picture book celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Artists and illustrators from all over the world offer their personal interpretation of the Articles, making them easy to understand for young readers. Children aged 6 and over will take great pleasure in discovering an exceptional illustration as well as a fundamental right on every page they turn. An exhibition based on this book will be touring libraries in Northern Ireland during November. AI-NI, 397 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GP, ph 028 -90 64 30 00, e-mail

Ireland must promote cluster bomb treaty
Five weeks before a groundbreaking new treaty banning cluster bombs opens for signature in Oslo, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) Ireland organised a ‘Chalk Silhouette Action’ in the city centre of Dublin to highlight the humanitarian harm caused by cluster bombs and to call on the Irish government to strongly promote the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) that prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster bombs. The street action was followed by a film screening of the documentary “Unacceptable Harm – 40 Years of Cluster Munitions” by Chris Anderson. Nicholas Twist from the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the DFA had published the new Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Bill and stated that he was confident that Ireland will be able to enact the legislation prior to 3 December. Contact: Susan Hensel, Cluster Munition Coalition Ireland, [More info in e-mail and web editions]

Act now to end cluster munitions
In Dublin last May representatives of over a hundred countries, including Ireland, adopted a groundbreaking new treaty to ban cluster bombs. The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, will open for signing in Oslo on 3 December. On 30 May, Minister Mícheál Martin had called upon the states that had signed the treaty to “work together to explain and argue for its provisions with those who are not here". Amnesty International is urging the Irish Government to lobby other countries to sign the Convention. You can write to your TDs or the Department of Foreign Affairs to lobby other countries to sign this historic Convention to end cluster munitions NOW! Join an Amnesty local group to play your part in the human rights movement.

Find out more about cluster munitions:

Centre for Global Education, Belfast
CGE has introduced a new membership scheme with considerable beneits regarding access and entitlements; fees run from £25 individual waged, £10 unwaged, £50 for non-profit organisations. Contact or for general details visit

ICR on segregation and sectarianism
The Institute for Conflict Research (ICR) has a new report out (164 pages) on segregation and sectarianism, “Segregated Lives – Social Division, Sectarianism and Everyday Life in Northern Ireland” by Jennifer Hamilton, Ulf Hansson, John Bell and Sarah Toucas; it is available online and paper copies are also available at £5. ICR, North City Business Centre, 2 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GG, e-mail

The place called reconciliation
This new book by David Stevens, leader of the Corrymeela Community, explores this theme for Christians through biblical reflections with interesting – but also erudite – comments along the way both by himself and quoted from a variety of commentators. The Christian bible can seem a big book, and reconciliation a complex theme, but the author makes sense of it all. Corrymeela Press, ISBN 1-873739-31-1, 203 pages, price £6.99 (plus £1 post and packaging in UK postal area if ordering from Corrymeela). Corrymeela Community, 8 Upper Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NT, ph 028 – 90508080, e-mail and website

Corrymeela’s Annual Report for 2007-8 is now available on request. Becoming a Friend of Corrymeela costs £26/€33/US$50 (unwaged £13/€16/US$25) and includes getting Corrymeela magazine three times a year.

Corrymeela are currently looking for an individual with outstanding group work and interpersonal skills but with admin, organisation, creative problem solving and IT skills to match. The programme assistant role combines office based administration, a weekly duty management shift and residential or session facilitation. Full details of the role can be found online.

Peace Education Musically Illustrated
INNATE is delighted Tony Kempster will be back shortly - a session will take place at Friends Meeting House, 22 Marlborough Park North, Belfast, at 7pm – 9pm on Tuesday 25th November on this topic, with Tony speaking and singing some songs (among many involvements he is a Vice President of the International Peace Bureau), and additional music from Peter MacAllister and Denis Chambers. Anyone interested welcome. Sponsored by INNATE and Ulster Quaker Peace Committee. Contact INNATE, or Mark at 079 83549472.

NIHRC turns the roundtable on ID cards
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) organised a roundtable seminar on 15th October on the UK government’s plans to introduce a National Identity Register (NIR) identity card scheme and its implications for Northern Ireland. The papers – by Daniel Holder, Arun Kundnani, Bernadette McAliskey and Rebekah Delsol, are available on the NIHRC website. The Commission opposes the current NIR identity card scheme and wants to see it withdrawn.

Grassroots Gathering in Cork: Inclusion and community building
The next Grassroots Gathering takes place the weekend of 14th to 16th November in Cork. Friday night is in Fionn Barras, Douglas Street, with a social from 8pm. Saturday 15th is at 'The Other Place', South Main Street from 10am to 6pm. Sunday 16th is at Unitarian Hall, Princes St., 12.30pm - 6pm. This Gathering will have the twin themes of Inclusion and Community Building - Surviving the ' Recession' . Workshops, activities and events being planned so far include : The present legal situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans gender people, Travellers and settled people working together, Telling stories, sharing experience looking at exclusion, Housing coops, food security, tackling racism in times of unemployment, reproductive rights, women's right to choose, conflict resolution, social centres, recent experience, L.E.T.S., reclaiming our natural resources, energy security, plus various film showings. On Saturday night there will be a traditional Cork cabaret. We are inviting some classic local acts but leaving plenty of time free to show case your talents so come prepared! Accommodation needs email

Four Irish people on board Free Gaza boat
There were four people from Ireland among 27 international activists on board the Dignity, a 20-metre chartered cruise boat from the Free Gaza Movement, which arrived at the port of Gaza City on 29th October from Cyprus, in defiance of an Israeli blockade. It carried half a tonne of medical supplies. Israel pulled its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but still patrols the waters off the territory; after threatening to deny it anchorage the Israeli state did allow it through. The Irish people on board were Alan Lonergan, Caoimhe Butterly, Derek Graham, and Mairead Corrigan Maguire.

See article in this issue by Mairead Corrigan Maguire, written prior to this visit, about Gaza and the Free Gaza Movement.

See also

Dublin Catholic Worker solidarity
On Monday 27th October, over 300 activists gathered and 33 were arrested blockading the British nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston. Reports photos on In Dublin, the weekly GPO Catholic Worker anti-war vigil primarily focussed on Irish complicity (Shannon Airport as refueller for U.S. troop movement and CIA kidnapping/rendition runs) in US/UK wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and had a focus on solidarity with the nonviolent resistance at Aldermaston.

On Sunday 16th November from 1 pm – 3 pm – the anniversary of the slaying of 6 Jesuits and a Salvadoran mother and daughter by troops trained at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia, USA, there will be a Vigil at the U.S. Embassy, Dublin, with speakers including Ciaron O’Reilly and Petria Malone, a US citizen previously arrested at the SOA. Contact:

Shannon Torture vigil
The monthly vigil to highlight Shannon airport's complicity in war and human rights abuse takes place on Sunday 9th November from 2pm to 3pm. Meet at the small roundabout just before the airport. It is known that in the past few years Shannon airport has been involved in the illegal rendition of prisoners by the US, and without a proper and effective inspection process it is likely that it is still involved. Meanwhile hundreds of US troops pass through the airport every day on their way to and from the unjust occupation of Iraq. And as military planes come and go, no questions are asked about their cargo. For more info on this event see and for a recent incident involving a suspect plane (‘Dodgy plane takes flight when search requested’) see here.

FOE-NI protests at decision by Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson overturned official advice to grant legal protection to an ice-age site in County Tyrone; Lisnaragh Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) was rescinded on 30th October despite a recommendation from the DOE's Environment Agency that it be designated. The suspicion is that he caved into pressure from landowners and the Stormont Environment Committee. Owners of the land, fearing that designation would hamper their plans to quarry the site for its sand deposits, had lobbied the Assembly Environment Committee. Friends of the Earth Campaigner Lisa Fagan explained: "The legislation is quite clear in two important respects: the Department has no discretion, it must designate any site which meets the scientific criteria; and social and economic factors can play no part in the designation process. It is for Planning Service to decide whether the site can be quarried, but the designation must proceed because the geological criteria have been satisfied." Friends of the Earth is demanding an explanation from the Minister and the prompt designation of the site. The Minister's intervention in this case was only possible because the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is a branch of DOE; if Northern Ireland had an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the site could have been designated without the need for ministerial approval.

Friends of the Earth, 7 Donegall Street Place, Belfast BT1 2FN, ph 028 9023 3600.

INNATE networking group meets next at 7pm on Wednesday 12th November in Belfast – contact us for details, all welcome.


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