Number 191 (supplement): 2nd August 2011 Please note this is intended as a short supplement (in this case, very short!) with mainly time-limited information, not a full issue - the next one will appear at the start of September. Full issue of July's issue 191 is below.
Hiroshima Day commemorations, Dublin and Cork
The annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima will take place on Saturday 6th August, the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. This year we are pleased that two ceremonies will take place, one in Dublin and one in Cork, remembering the victims of the first atomic bombing and re-affirming our determination to ensure that such weapons can never be used again. The main commemoration will take place at the memorial cherry tree in Merrion Square, Dublin 2, at 1.00 p.m., with a short ceremony of words and music, attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Andrew Montague, and other guests.
A short, informal ceremony of commemoration will take place at the memorial (beside the Electric Bar) on the South Mall, Cork City, also at 1.00 p.m. All are welcome to either commemoration. Please come along if you can, and feel free to pass the invitation on to others who may be interested. http://www.irishcnd.org
Tools for Solidarity
A new, July, Tools for Solidarity (TfS) newsletter is available on their website at http://www.toolsforsolidarity.com with news of their projects and people. TfS recycle and refurbish tools to give to Tanzanian and Ugandan crafts and trades people.
CCI – Chernobyl Children International
Since its foundation in 1991, CCI has delivered over €90 million in direct and indirect humanitarian aid to the Chernobyl region. Over 900 children have come to Ireland for rest and recuperation this year (see also NN 190). See http://www.chernobyl-international.com
Woodland League petition on possible Coillte sell off
The Woodland League’s petition on avoiding the sell off of Coillte (Irish Forestry Board) to private investors continues, see http://www.woodlandleague.org (also for much other information on Irish forestry). At stake is the more than a million acres with some of the most valuable native woodland, wild places and refuges of native flora and fauna.
Deadlines for the next issues of Nonviolent News are 31st August and 29th September, for the September and October issues respectively.
Glencree: Work continues as normal
While the accommodation block at the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, Co Wicklow, has closed, all other programmes are working normally. There are no cuts or reductions in Glencree programmes. The cut backs referred to in the press recently relate to the accommodation and meeting room facilities and services offered on site in Glencree. Those familiar with the Glencree site will appreciate that the main accommodation block is just over two hundred years old and is extremely costly to light and heat. With a trend towards delivering more programmes off site, the occupancy or usage of those particular facilities has reduced. However Glencree has to heat and service the building all year round and that has become just too costly. Glencree is closing the building and will have discussions with the site owner, the Office of Public Works, as to how to address this cost issue. In the meantime arrangements have been put in place with another adjacent facility which will allow Glencree to avail of very suitable accommodation and meeting room facilities as they are needed.
In the current economic climate many not-for-profit organisations are feeling the pinch in terms of private and corporate donations and Glencree is no exception. With Programme funding in place and Programme activity at very high levels, it is incumbent on Glencree to manage overhead resources carefully. The priority when considering these measures was at all times to ensure there would be no diminution of core work and abilities. For Glencree information see http://www.glencree.ie where you can also sign up to receive Glencree’s e-newsletter or make a financial donation.
Irish Gaza boat trip sunk by sabotage
The Irish boat MV Saoirse (‘Freedom’ in English) which was due to take part in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza was damaged in an act of sabotage, most likely by Israeli agents, as it sat at port in Turkey and was resultantly unsafe to sail; a gouge was taken out of the propeller shaft and it was bent. The Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign (ISTG) “believes that it is beyond coincidence that both the Irish ship and the Greek-Scandinavian ship the Juliano (berthed in Piraeus, Greece) suffered almost identical damage within a week while docked in two separate countries, some three hundred miles from each other. Both ships were due to take part in Freedom Flotilla Two.” The ISTG website at http://irishshiptogaza.org has photos of the damage. They report Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, sharing the same suspicions. Meanwhile Greece, under pressure from Israel and presumably also the USA, has forbidden and actively intervened militarily to prevent boats berthed there as part of the flotilla leaving Greek waters.
The Art of Good Relations: Open day at Kilcranny House
Kilcranny House Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Coleraine is opening its doors to showcase a variety of Good Relations projects which took place using the arts. There will be community quilts on display and an exhibition of street-style art by young people to express their sense of identity. There will also be showcases of storytelling, music, and shared history projects and lots of free brochures and resources to take home. To make it a fun and engaging day for all the family, there will be plenty of creative workshops running which can be dropped into throughout the afternoon – including 'storytelling with Liz Weir' , arts and crafts activities, a drumming circle and a talk from local historian Alex Blair on 'how we talk' in Northern Ireland. There will even be a bouncy castle, outdoor games and a tuckshop! Parking is available on-site. The Art of Good Relations will take place from 2-5pm on Saturday 23rd July. All welcome. See http://www.kilcrannyhouse.org
Effective nonviolence in the 21st century: INNATE residential
With Javier Gárate of the War Resisters International (WRI) as the resource person, “Effective nonviolence in the 21st century – taking your campaign forward” will take place as a residential at Kilcranny House, Coleraine, from tea-time on Friday 14th October through to tea-time on Saturday 15th October. As well as input from Javier there will be an opportunity for people to work together in small groups on their particular interests and campaigns. The fee for the residential is £35 (concession rate £25) and bookings should be made to INNATE (ask for the booking form).
Meanwhile Javier Gárate will speak at a meeting in the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE), Antrim Road, Belfast on “Effective nonviolence in the 21st century” – same main title as the residential but without the sub-title. This will take place from 2- 4pm on Thursday 13th October and is open to people outside the ISE – those wishing to attend should contact Caroline Clarke on email@example.com
De-cision making with de Borda
Government of National Unity; all-party coalition; power-sharing. These are all terms for the same sort of administration. Given the increasing calls – the latest is in Greece – it would seem that no-one, anywhere, has yet devised a methodology by which a parliament can choose, collectively, not only those whom they wish to serve in cabinet, but also the particular department in which they want each of these ministers to serve. In NI, the politicians devised the d’Hondt formula, but it is both sectarian and inadequate. In Switzerland, they have a “magic formula” which seems to work quite well. Elsewhere, and especially in the more contentious plural societies, reliance is placed on negotiations, and these are often protracted. Iraq took 249 days. Belgium has clocked up 365, and is still counting!
No-one, that is, apart from the de Borda Institute. The matrix vote is the only voting procedure which can cater for such an election, and given its unique and innovative quality, Voting Matters ? 29 has now published the analysis of an experiment conducted at a public meeting in Dublin in October 2009. The matrix vote methodology is described in detail in Designing an All-Inclusive Democracy, Springer, 2007, and the same publishing house is shortly to produce a second edition of Defining Democracy.
UN Torture Committee criticises Ireland
Amnesty International Ireland has welcomed the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture to the Irish Government issued on 6th June 2011 regarding renditions, mental health and prisons. Amnesty International called upon the state to act without delay to address gaps in its human rights compliance. The recommendations follow the UN’s review of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention) on 23 and 24 May 2011. The Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture are available here Amnesty International Ireland’s website is at http://www.amnesty.ie
Resources from Healing Through Remembering
A wide range of reports are available from Healing Through Remembering (HTR) either as paper copies or online from the resources section at the website http://www.healingthroughremembering.org These reports include ‘Ethical principles – storytelling and narrative work’, ‘At the end of the day – Commemoration: Forward thinking into the past’, ‘Momentum and change’ on HTR’s role and remit, “Artefacts Audit’ on the Northern Ireland conflict, ‘Without Walls: A report on the Open Call for Ideas for a Living Memorial Museum’, reports on the Day of Private Reflection, ‘Making peace with the past: Options for truth recovery....’, ‘The viability of prosecution based on historical evidence’, ‘Acknowledgement and its role in preventing future violence’, ‘Storytelling as the vehicle’? Conference report, ‘International experiences of days of remembrance and reflection’, and ‘Storytelling audit: an audit of personal story, narrative and testimony initiatives...’. Meanwhile Aongus O’Keeffe has been appointed as Project Coordinator, replacing Laura Coulter, and will coordinate the ‘Whatever You Say, Say Something’ project. HTR, Alexander House, 17a Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HD, ph 028 9023 8844, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth Week in Kerry
Earth Week in the Diocese of Kerry will take place from 27th September to 4th October this year and all the events will be parish led. In 2010 parish involvement was at 28%, the hope is to increase this in 2011. Events in 2010 included bat, biodiversity & nature walks, blessing of animals, getting to know the night sky, planting of bulbs & trees, setting up bird and owl boxes etc. You can see details on http://www.dioceseofkerry.ie and follow the link via the Justice tab to the Creation Time page.
In partnership between QUB and Mediation Northern Ireland, the PgD/Masters in Work-Based Learning (Mediation Studies), draws on the unique experiences of practitioners who have developed models of practice in Northern Ireland for use locally and in other conflicts internationally. The course, which offers the option of qualifying with a Postgraduate Diploma or Masters degree, is the first professional course of its kind in the UK and Ireland to focus on a partnership of Work-Based Learning and Mediation as a peace-building tool. Northern Ireland’s mediators are often asked to share their expertise with others around the globe, but despite their unrivalled skills and experience, many do not have an academic background in Work-Based Learning and Mediation. This course gives skilled mediators the opportunity to fill that gap in their CV, advance their theoretical knowledge of Work-Based Learning and Mediation and gain an academic qualification. The work-based element requires learners to take the theory they have learned and apply it to their paid, unpaid or voluntary Mediation work. Applications are open until 31st August 2011. For more information, check the Mediation Northern Ireland website.
Ireland's oil dependence fuels global injustice
As the last round of UN climate talks came to a close in Bonn, Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of development, environment, faith and youth groups, put the spotlight on Ireland's dependence on imported fossil fuels and how it is fuelling global injustice. In a photo stunt outside the Dáil on 16th June the coalition physically represented emissions per person from four different countries, demonstrating the much larger carbon footprint of the average Irish person. Stop Climate Chaos has welcomed the commitment in the Programme for Government to pass a climate law and is calling on Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to publish his Bill before he heads to Durban for the next round of climate talks in December. 89% of the energy we use in Ireland comes from imported fossil fuels, more than half of that from oil. As a result Ireland emits 17 tonnes of carbon emissions per person per year, compared to 11 tonnes in Denmark, just 5 in China and barely 1 in Ethiopia. Stop Climate Chaos, 9 Upper Mount Street,
Dublin 2, ph 01 6394653, email email@example.com web http://www.stopclimatechaos.ie
Activist’s Handbook: A Guide to Activism on Global Issues
The Centre for Global Education has produced a new publication called “The Activist’s Handbook: A Guide to Activism on Global Issues”. The aim of the publication is to offer guidance to individuals interested in taking action locally on international development issues and to support the work of organisations engaged in development work in Ireland. The content of the book is broken into three main sections. Section one focuses on examples of long-standing engagement by individuals in activism on global issues. Section two features case studies of organisations and social movements in the global North and global South which have engaged in activism on global issues. Section three carries organisational profiles of 50 organisations in Ireland which support advocacy, education and activism on global issues.
This publication will greatly support the work of community, development, minority, environmental and human rights organisations that work with local target groups on global issues. It will also benefit individuals who are new to this area of work and want to know which organisations are actively involved in the issues that interest them.
“A Guide to Activism on Global Issues”, edited by Aisling Boyle and Stephen McCloskey, March 2011, ISSN: 1748-136X 160 pages, A5, Price £5.00 / €6.00 To order a copy of the book please contact firstname.lastname@example.org The book costs £5 sterling (plus £1.50 P&P per copy) and €6 euro (plus €3.60 P&P per copy).
Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons
Afri is a member organisation of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons and has been urging the Irish Government to support the Belgian Government’s lead and to work towards completion of legislation to ban these devastating weapons. In Autumn 2009, Afri invited Doug Weir, Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons to Ireland for a public meeting. Afri also set up a meeting with then Green Party Senator Dan Boyle who subsequently submitted a private members Bill to introduce legislation to ban Depleted Uranium Weapons. Significant progress towards this goal was made when, in November of 2010, the ‘Prohibition of Depleted Uranium Weapons’ Bill passed through its final stage in the Seanad with cross-party support. However the general election and change of government meant the progress was halted. The Bill must now to go to the Dáil, and Afri urges all involved to ensure that this legislation is passed into law without delay. Support for a world-wide ban is growing. In 2007 Belgium became the first country in the world to ban all conventional weapons containing uranium. In May 2008, 94% of MEPs in the European Parliament, in a wide ranging resolution, strengthened previous calls for a moratorium by demanding a DU ban. Meanwhile Costa Rica banned such weapons in 2011. Afri, 134 Phibsborough Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, ph 01 - 882 7563 / 882 7581 and website http://www.afri.ie
Shannonwatch on WikiLeaks
[Edited from a Shannonwatch statement of 6th June 2011]
Recent WikiLeaks revelations show that successive Irish governments were more worried about being caught lying over renditions and Shannon than they were in stopping kidnapping and torture. International law and human rights were never even mentioned as Irish politicians looked after their own careers and provided unwavering support for U.S. policy and wars.
The present government now has a responsibility to immediately end the use of Shannon Airport for purposes not in line with international law, as they promised in their programme for government. This should not only cover renditions; it should also deal with breaches of humanitarian and neutrality law.
The Irish Independent's coverage of WikiLeaks cables from Ireland has put the spotlight once again on Fianna Fail and Green Party willingness to accept whatever the Americans wanted to take through Shannon - so long as the Irish public didn't find out. We know from the cables that they took Apache helicopters to Israel and that these were not listed as munitions of war. They may also have taken prisoners through in innoce
t looking white executive jets or the military's Hercules C-130 aircraft.
One of the cables (04DUBLIN1770) says that in a 2004 meeting at the U.S. embassy, former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern “said that while there are no plans to alter arrangements with the U.S. at Shannon, the subject is ‘beginning to worry people.’ He noted the Irish government's repeated defence of the U.S. military's use of Shannon to parliament, in which he and other ministers referred to U.S. assurances that enemy combatants have not transited Shannon en route to Guantanamo or elsewhere. And he then asked the ambassador ‘Am I all right on this?’.
We are not told the ambassador's reply. But we are informed that Senator John McCain told the ambassador he planned to raise Shannon with the Washington Administration "to underscore how very important it is that the U.S. not ever be caught in a lie to a close friend and ally.” As Harry Browne notes , McCain’s words appear to indicate that he was less trusting of US assurances on Shannon than the Irish government was.
"Ireland must now live up to its responsibilities to comply with international law" said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. "A former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Justice was quite sure that rendition planes had come through Shannon so that alone should be enough for a full and transparent investigation of the matter. But much more is required of the current Irish government. By continuing to make Shannon Airport available to the U.S. military, Ireland is already complicit in war crimes and is violating international humanitarian law. We are also breaking neutrality law (the Hague Convention), despite the pretence of successive governments that we are a neutral state".
"Since it is now likely that no more prisoners are being taken through Shannon Airport for torture purposes it is already too late to close that stable door. But it not too late to ensure that the same thing never happens again. Nor is it too late to close the door on U.S. troops and munitions transiting to Shannon. The present government have said they will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law. It is time they showed this is not another meaningless public statement by a government engaging in more cover-up and lies".
Website: http://www.shannonwatch.org To contact Shannonwatch email email@example.com or phone 087 8225087.
No more out of town shopping centres says FOE-NI
In response to the threat of legal challenge by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association  against the Tesco hypermarket outside Banbridge, Friends of the Earth is demanding that Minister Attwood refuses planning permission for all new out of town shopping centres. Friends of the Earth is making five demands:
1. Stronger planning policies to be introduced to protect high streets and town centres
2. Immediate implementation of the proposed rates increases for out of town centres
3. New rules to make Ministers adhere to their own planning policies
4. Independent economic reports to fully assess the impact of current proposals including job losses in nearby town centres
5. A complete ban on all new out of town shopping centres from 2012
Friends of the Earth Director, James Orr said: “Enough is enough. We have had our fill of unsustainable large supermarkets being built outside our cities and towns. These monstrosities suck the lifeblood out of communities by ruining small businesses. They increase consumption and waste and dramatically increase cars on the road. We are calling on the new Minister for the Environment to halt all new out of town supermarkets from 2012.”
Seeing the wood for the trees
Friends of the Earth today stated their opposition to a “mediaeval” byelaw proposed by Northern Ireland Forest Service which would forbid access to Forest Service land between sunset and sunrise, unless permission was granted by the agency. Friends of the Earth Activism Co-ordinator, Niall Bakewell, said: “This byelaw is reminiscent of the arbitrary restrictions imposed on peasants by their feudal landlords in the middle ages. It would run completely counter to the principle of free access to green space for Northern Ireland citizens. Our right to roam on privately owned land is inadequate to the point of being almost non-existent. For us then to have restrictions put on our movements on land that we collectively own would be a blow to liberty that we will not tolerate.”
He continued: “The vast majority of people who are on Forest Service maintained land at night are there for perfectly legitimate reasons. In winter it would become almost impossible to enjoy this amenity without breaching the proposed curfew. We fully support Forest Service in protecting and improving the land that they control on our behalf, and we agree with byelaws that restrict risky or damaging behaviour such as carelessness with fire, or littering. The agency should be able to police such behaviour without resorting to a blanket ban on access to their sites after dark. In fact, we would argue that the continued presence of law-abiding citizens on Forest Service maintained property at night will ensure constant public vigilance and discourage those who would want to use this land inappropriately. We support those who are campaigning against this byelaw, especially the www.ni-wild.co.uk blog. We hope that Forest Service listens to everyone who has objected to their proposed curfew, and chooses to abandon this policy entirely. Forest Service land is our land, and we must be allowed to enjoy it without undue interference.” Friends of the Earth, 7 Donegall Street Place, Belfast BT1 2FN, ph 028 9089 7592, http://www.foe.co.uk/northern_ireland_index.html
Rossport Solidarity Camp
[Edited from report of 29th June 2011]
July looks set to be a really busy month. Come up for one of the events listed below or feel free to visit us at any time; there's always loads to do and it's a great chance to learn more about the campaign and get involved. We offer accommodation & food, donations welcome. Shell have announced that they plan to start work any day now, we will do a call out for protests as soon as they do. There will be a big Day of Action approximately 2 weeks after work starts (it will be on a Friday- exact date to be announced in the call out). We are asking people to spread the word and think about organizing people and transport to come up here for the Day of Action. We aim to frustrate, disrupt and stop Shell as much as possible with continuous daily protests. There will then be a Day of Action once a month from then on.
Shell are currently dismantling the Aughoose compound opposite the camp, finishing "the survey". At the same time they announced beginning of the construction commencing now. The first stage of the construction will be to set up a new compound in Aughoose, secure it with palisade fencing and remove tons of the peat in order to prepare the compound for tunnel boring machine. Our best chance to stop the rest of construction happening is to stop the compound from being set up is. The new Aughoose compound is planned to be much bigger and will cause a huge amount of damage to the land and disruption to residents due to the truck movements (472 truck movements a day at peak construction).
We are running Direct Action trainings across the country and at the camp, Please get in touch if you would like one in your area. The next one is Saturday 23rd July at the camp, see here
Please email us to book your place. It's open to complete beginners to try out different ways of protesting, learning your legal rights and planning a safe and effective campaign against Shell. Accommodation and food provided, donations welcome. For further information and events see http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org
INNATE networking group – This meets regularly, check with us for the next meeting date and time, all welcome.
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