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

Number 213: 4th October 2013

Irish people not neutral on neutrality
A poll conducted for PANA, the Peace And Neutrality Alliance, by RED C in August (just over a thousand people were polled) makes for fascinating reading. It showed that of all adults (18+) in the Republic, 57% strongly agreed Ireland should have a policy of neutrality, an additional 21% were in the ‘agree somewhat’ stance, only 7% disagreed strongly and 8% disagreed somewhat (6% neither agreed or disagreed). Approximately 8 in 10 people are in favour of neutrality, roughly the same number who believe Ireland should not support war on Syria without a UN mandate. Interestingly, younger people were more strongly in favour of neutrality than older. A strong majority (52% strongly disagreed, 15% disagreed) opposed Ireland or EU sending arms and military equipment to anti-government groups in Syria. Full details are on the PANA website

MII Conference, workplace mediation awards
Registration is open for The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII) 15th Annual Conference, scheduled to take place 8th - 9th November. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Mediation Across Boundaries: From the Personal to the Global’. This being the year of ‘The Gathering’ the aim is to highlight the use and benefits of mediation as a process for conflict resolution in both local and global disputes. The conference will be opened by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. The keynote speaker on Friday this year is John Winslade, Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Education at California State University. His talk will explore methods for helping people embroiled in conflict separate from the troublesome narratives they get caught up in. On Saturday morning there will be two keynote sessions. Charlie Irvine, Visiting Professor of Strathclyde University’s MSc in Mediation and Conflict Resolution, explains how biases and heuristics (mental shortcuts) can exacerbate both interpersonal and international disputes. Geoffrey Corry, former Chairperson of the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, will talk about peacemaking lessons from the Northern Peace Process and highlight the power of a storytelling approach in humanising relationships between protagonists.

Another highlight this year is the presentation at the conference of a number of Workplace Mediation Awards to organisations that highlight best practice.The MII invites organisations, large and small, to showcase how they have promoted and developed workplace mediation. In a greatly changed economic and social landscape, where the benefits of mediation are now more than ever being recognised, MII encourages all who have an interest in the practice and theory of mediation and conflict resolution to attend. Registration and online booking here . The ‘early bird‘ rate is open until Wednesday October 9th, 5pm.

Major restorative justice conference for Dundalk
The Restorative Justice Forum (NI), in conjunction with the Justice, Education, Voluntary and Community sectors in the South, are hosting an event during International Restorative Justice Week 2013 to develop the use of restorative practices throughout Ireland, entitled ‘Restorative Connections: developing a roadmap across Ireland’. The conference will take place at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk, from midday 20th to midday 21st November, with an optional dinner and overnight stay available for delegates. The event will feature a series of interactive workshops and keynote speakers, with the aims of: (i) introducing and promoting restorative practices with key decision makers across Ireland; (ii) providing space for discussing, analysing and exploring restorative thinking, practice and developments; and (iii) building long lasting relationships across Ireland to further develop restorative practices across all levels of society. To register your interest and receive further details please contact Margaret Hastings at Quaker Service in Belfast by email or by phone, 028 90 201444.

Afri Hedge School: Militarisation, conflict, environment
The 2013 Hedge School will place in Blanchardstown Institute of Technology, Dublin 15, on the themes of militarisation, conflict and the environment on Tuesday 5th November. The Hedge School is being organised in partnership with the students from Blanchardstown I.T. All welcome. More details will be available on the Afri website closer to the time.

Irish Churches Peace Project
The Irish Churches Peace project aims to work in Northern Ireland and the border region of the Republic to help build a peaceful and stable society with a better and shared future, through churches working together. The project is funded to June 2015. See Contacts: Office at 028 92660069, Suite 102, Lisburn Enterprise Centre, Enterprise Crescent, Ballinderry Road, Lisburn BT28 2BP. Director, Keith Hamilton 078-41776866. Good Relations Officers are contactable as follows: Fermanagh and Border Region, Glenn Harvey,, 078-41919793: Newry and Mourne, Peter McDowell,, 078-41919797: Strabane and Northwest, John Kelly,, ph 078-41919794: Greater Belfast, Laura Coulter,, ph 078-41919798: Craigavon, Yvonne Breen,, 078-41776869: Armagh, Dungannon, Cookstown, Emily Brough,, ph 078-41776868.

AI judgement on Irish EU presidency
Ireland was praised for taking significant steps to protect human rights during the EU Presidency earlier this year in a review published by Amnesty International on 8th September. But the Government was strongly criticised for a confused and inadequate approach to EU action on ending female genital mutilation. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “There were some big wins for human rights in Ireland’s presidency.The Irish Government’s emphasis on putting human rights at the heart of the EU’s foreign policy was both significant and welcome. The presidency played a positive role in ensuring a robust international Arms Trade Treaty was agreed at the start of April.” But Amnesty International also highlighted what it termed a significant ‘missed opportunity’ by the Government’s failure to support EU efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM), which affects an estimated 180,000 women in Europe every year. See the website and for Amnesty International Ireland homepage click here

Accounts of the Conflict Seminar: Textile stories
'Textile Stories on Conflict' is the title of a seminar at 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, 17th October in MI022 (Aberfoyle House), Magee Campus, University of Ulster, Derry, with a presentation by Roberta Bacic. RSVP by 14th October to Janet Farren, or ph 028 7167 5575. Organised by INCORE. A light lunch will be served afterwards. This seminar will draw attention to the power of arpilleras (hand sewn patchworks) and quilts as a means to depict stories and experiences of conflict. For a general overview of the exhibitions and associated activities that have taken place since 2008 you can For Accounts of the Conflict project see also NN 212.

Shannonwatch: Concern about US military aircraft
Shannonwatch on 9th September called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the significance of several U.S. troop carriers and other military aircraft at Shannon Airport in the run-up to what might have been a U.S. led attack on Syria. Shannonwatch called on the Irish government to make its opposition clear by immediately ending the U.S. military use of the airport. Shannonwatch were particularly concerned at the fact that on Saturday Sept 7th an armed man in army clothing was seen beside one of the U.S. Air Force Hercules at the airport. The situation regarding the presence of weapons on U.S. military flights at Shannon was outlined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore in June of this year. In answer to a written parliamentary question he stated that permission for foreign military aircraft, including U.S. aircraft, to land at Irish airports is given only on condition that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and do not engage in intelligence gathering and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations. "It is inconceivable that U.S. military aircraft transiting Shannon airport would not be carrying armed personnel" said Edward Horgan. "The only way to be sure that they are not is to inspect them. But despite being asked repeatedly to do so, the authorities refuse". Further details at Here.

Bus to Shannon vigil from Dublin
Shannonwatch organise a vigil at the Shannon Airport Roundabout on the Second Sunday of every month. PANA, in solidarity with Shannonwatch and to mark the anniversary of the conquest of Afghanistan by the US is hiring a bus that will leave from Liberty Hall in Dublin at 11.00am on Sunday 13th October to go to Shannon. There is no cost but a donation will be requested. If you are interested on going on the bus please ring Roger Cole on ph 087 2611597 or email: The deadline to book is 5.00am on Thursday 10th of October.

Housmans Diary 2014
As autumn creeps along it is time ‘think diary’ for next calendar year. Housmans Peace Diary is an indispensable aid to movements working for peace, social justice and the environment. The directory lists over 1500 national and international human rights organisations as well as diary features such as a week to a view, notable dates and anniversaries etc. This is the 61st edition of Housmans Peace Diary. The feature this year is on how we should approach the centenary of the First World War. One copy is £8.95, postage is £1 extra per diary for 1-4 copies in UK postage area, £3 per diary elsewhere. Discounts for more copies. Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, ph 020 7837 4473, e-mail or to order online click here.

- INNATE will have a limited number of Housmans Peace Diaries for sale.
- The World Peace Directory is also available online here in a fuller version. It is worth reading the background information on the website to get the best use out of it.

Pax Christi Annual Peace Mass
The annual peace mass of Pax Christi will be celebrated by Fr David Brough, Parish Priest of Rathmines, in Rathmines Parish Church, Dublin, at 6pm on Sunday 6th October. Bishop John Kirby has been appointed president of Pax Christi Ireland in succession to Bishop Raymond Field. Pax Christi, 32 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, phone 01 – 4965293,

Why be nonviolent? Why call it nonviolence?
The War Resisters’ International (WRI) webinar with Brian Martin, on the above title, exploring the terminology associated with nonviolence, can be downloaded Here. It lasts an hour. WRI is at

FOE NI: Jazz Funeral for Democracy
Environmentalists took part in a New Orleans style “Jazz Funeral for Democracy”, as part of Culture Night Belfast, on Friday 20th September 2013. The procession and funeral rites were led by New York performance artists and direct activists, Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping, and Nehemiah Luckett, music director of the singer-activists, the Stop Shopping Choir, who were in Northern Ireland as guests of Friends of the Earth NI (FOE NI). The funeral for democracy was organised by Friends of the Earth in the wake of what it sees as multi-lateral assaults on the rights of Northern Ireland citizens by both Westminster and Stormont, including: consolidating anonymity for donors to Northern Ireland political parties; removing the right to participate in the planning system or challenge bad decisions; and draconian proposals to limit the rights of UK campaign groups to operate in the year before a General Election. See the website.

10,000 Days since Chernobyl
11th September 2013 marked 10,000 days since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the after-effects of which are now devastating a new generation. Commemorating this milestone date, Chernobyl Children International Founder & CEO, Adi Roche said, "10,000 days later, we can once again remember the forgotten children of Chernobyl, who in 1986 saw their world changed in the blink of an eye, leaving a legacy of medical and health problems that continue to impact hugely on future generations. Let us take the time to honour them and the next generation of Chernobyl’s children."

Well-known Derry songwriter, Paul Casey has written a song ’10,000 Days’ to support Chernobyl Children International and mark this date. The song is now available for sale on iTunes Here for €0.99. All proceeds from the sale of the itune will go towards Chernobyl Children International. CCI website here.

19 Days: Preventing abuse of children and young people
The WWSF (Women’s World Summit Foundation) Children-Youth section invites participation in 19 Days of activism for prevention of abuse and violence against children and youth, running from 1st - 19th November 2013.Registrations for the campaign are open and the deadline for submission of activities is 15th October. New registrations can only be sent via the website especially dedicated to the campaign where you can find the Call to Action-Prevention Kit 2013.

Famine graveyards
“They All Had Names: A Survey of Tithe na mBocht and Famine Graveyards in Ireland” is the title of the revised Report on Famine Graveyards and Workhouses in Ireland now available from Afri, including new information. The report aims to compile a comprehensive record of all famine related sites in Ireland, province by province. Copies of this publication are available from the Afri office in Dublin, ph 01 8827563 / 8827581 or by email


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