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

Number 238: April 2016

Mediation NI launch peace monitor group
As part of Mediation Northern Ireland's commitment to peace and nonviolence it has renewed its monitoring work. In addition to the traditional parade-type events in Northern Ireland, monitoring is also relevant to situations of cultural diversity, racial threat, ecological concern etc.  MNI currently licenses a pool of 16 monitors. Monitors have attended events including parades, protests and celebrations to observe both the context and the detail of the event.  In addition to providing a report on the event, the monitoring programme hopes to assist all present to avoid violence. 

MNI monitors are clearly visible when in attendance, wearing high visibility vests with the MNI logo and carrying their MNI monitor's licence. Sean O Baoill, the Monitoring Coordinator informs event organisers in advance of the monitors' presence as part of MNI's commitment to transparency and collaboration.   The amalgamated reports created by the MNI Monitoring Programme are available to the public and to voluntary and statutory agencies on request. Requests and queries about MNI monitoring work should be directed to Mary Lynch on 028 90438614 or – this can include queries about using the monitoring group or about becoming a volunteer monitor. 

Prospective monitors need to be already trained in mediation, be willing to complete 20 hours of Civic Peacekeeping and Parades Monitoring training with MNI and be available for 40 hours voluntary monitoring per year including some weekends and holiday periods. The next course in Civic Peacekeeping and Parades Monitoring will take place at MNI in June 2016.  Registration of interest in currently open.

Poll (again) shows most people oppose US use of Shannon
A new Red C poll commissioned by independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace shows that most Irish people want to see neutrality locked into the Constitution; responding to the survey, 57% of those asked said that Ireland's neutrality should be enshrined in the document, while 39% believed the Constitution should not be changed. Support was found to be spread pretty evenly across age and gender demographics, although with higher levels of support among females aged 45 to 54. On US military use of Shannon, 55% of adults (in the Republic) were opposed to it while 41% said it should be allowed. More women than men supported Shannon not being used by the US military. See e.g. here and here

Woodburn oil drill, Carrickfergus: Oil and water
Several members of the public witnessed and reported an oil/petrol/diesel oil discharge into a stream flowing out of the Infrastrata drill site on 26/03/16. The stream flows into Woodburn river and is within the water catchment area. Northern Ireland Environment Agency officials visited the site two days later and confirmed that the spill had happened within the Infrastrata site. This is the second reported hydrocarbon spill caused by the Infrastrata work within 6 weeks. Their environmental consultants, RPS Group gave assurances that the cause of the first spill had been rectified. This recent spill is further evidence that gives the lie to Infrastrata's promises that "the site has been designed as 'zero discharge' which means there will be no discharges from the site to local watercourses and therefore there will be no adverse impact on the Woodburn River and Dams catchment" - see These spills have occurred before drilling has commenced, which is expected in May according to Stop the Drill Campaign.

While Belfast City Council has expressed concern about the oil drilling, the local council to Woodburn, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, is disregarding calls to stop supporting Infrastrata's proposed drill at this site. Stop the Drill campaign announced on 23/03/16 that MEABC have been served with papers regarding a judicial review of their decision to support the proposed drill. The campaign stated that if no action was taken by the council before 29th March, an application to the High Court for relief by way of a judicial review would be made. See Twitter & Facebook links.

CRC move office
The Community Relations Council in Northern Ireland has moved offices. It is now at 2nd Floor, Equality House, 7-9 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, BT2 7DP. The phone number and email addresses remain the same: and phone ph 028 9022 7500,

Pax Christi remember Francis Sheehy-Skeffington
"Remembering Francis Sheehy-Skeffington: a voice for non-violence in 1916" is an event organised by Pax Christi on Saturday 9th April at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin 6, starting at 2pm and running until no later than 4pm. The remembrance ceremony will consist of a ceremony of reflection on his life, and prayer for world peace, in the Barracks chapel; the laying of a wreath in memory of members of the Irish Defence Forces who lost their lives in UN peace-keeping operations; a visit to the museum and cell where he was held, and to the yard where he was illegally executed along with two journalists, Thomas Dixon and Patrick McIntyre – a second wreath will be laid there. The event will conclude with refreshments in the officers' mess of the Barracks. Those who wish to attend must give their names in advance, by 6th April, as Pax Christi have to provide the military authorities with the names of all those attending. Contact Pax Christi at 01 – 4965293, e-mail or contact Pax Christi, 52 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6.

MII on independent facilitation for government formation
Commenting on the current attempts to form a government in the wake of the recent general election, President of the Mediators' Institute of Ireland (MII) Sabine Walsh said "We urge all those involved in the process of Government formation to consider using independent facilitation services to support the process. Given the uniqueness and complexity of the outcome of the general election, the use of expert independent facilitation services would enhance the prospects of a successful outcome." The Mediators' Institute of Ireland is the professional association for Mediators in Ireland. See

FOE reveals historic FF-FG green deal...
The date, unfortunately, said it all – a 1st April press release on a 'historic turning point' with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreeing a "5-year climate action plan ... seen as a vital plank of any deal on the formation of a new government"; this deal included a "Backroom deal for a solar revolution, a ban on fracking, closing the peat plants and an SSIA scheme for retro-fitting." Alas and alack, it was an April Fool. A subsequent e-mail noted "There is no plan. In fact, the last national climate action plan was published by Minister Dick Roche, NINE years ago.... (that should be the April Fool's joke but it's not)." And Oisin Coghlan of FOE concluded "The real joke is that Ireland isn't planning to have a plan on how to meet our 2020 emissions targets until after we miss them. The sad thing is the measures we included in our April Fool's climate action plan are not that radical, they're very practical, they would save the taxpayers' money being wasted on fines for missing out targets, and people would get clean energy and warmer homes."

Famine Walk 2016: Memory, Solidarity, Sovereignty
Afri's Famine Walk (10 miles) takes place in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo on Saturday 21st May with registration from 12.45pm (€20 per adult participant or more sponsorship welcome). Walk Leaders are Rafeef Ziadah (Palestine), Francisco Cali-Tzay (Guatemala) and Clare O'Grady Walshe. Music by Máirtín O Connor (and a special fundraising concert for Afri with Máirtín and family takes place in the Derrylahan, Louisburgh at 8.30pm on Saturday 21st). Remembering should not be about self-indulgence or self-pity but rather about reflecting, understanding, empathising and, most importantly, alerting us to similar injustices in our world today in order to ensure that we do not repeat the tragedies of the past. See here.

CAJ: Public Order Policing
CAJ has launched a new guide to public order policing in Northern Ireland – "How Public Order Policing Works in Northern Ireland: Standards and Accountability"; it is available as a PDF on the website at or in paper form for collection from the CAJ office (48 pages, postage charges apply if posted). At the launch, CAJ Director Brian Gormally said "The only hope for regulation and moderation of symbolic conflict is the rule of law based on human rights standards." It is divided into overviews and chapters on before, during and after an event.

Equality impacts of Stormont House Agreement
The Equality Coalition in Northern Ireland has published research on "A Fresh Start for Equality? The Equality Impacts of the Stormont House Agreement on the Two Main Communities" (78 pages). The research was carried out by Christine Bell and Robbie McVeigh. The report concludes that "...the economic model made explicit in the financial annex of the SHA is likely to deepen and widen inequality – both generally (between richer and poorer people) and in terms of the differences between Protestants and Catholics." See

Glencree news
Recent news from Glencree Centre for Reconciliation can be found in their Spring 2016 Newsletter which is on the website. (you can also subscribe to receive it). This includes plans for 2016 as well as looking back over some of the projects which took place in 2015 including 'Our Friends from Belfast' talk series in Dublin, the Young Peacebuilders Programme, and transition year modules available. Residential facilities at Glencree were reopened early in 2015. Upcoming events include the AGM on Friday 27th May at 4.30 pm in Glencree – all are welcome – and in late June an "Imagining Reconciliation Through Culture" event will take place with key note speaker Prof Richard Kearney, writer, philosopher and academic, details to be confirmed.

Summer School on Conflict Transformation, QUB
The International Summer School on Conflict Transformation at Queen's University Belfast takes place from 4th – 22nd July and brings an interdisciplinary approach including theories and practices of conflict transformation from within local and global perspectives that will include case studies of Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia and South America, aspects of religion, and learning more about how interventions and policies dedicated to conflict transformation have failed or succeeded, etc. Closing date to apply is 29th April and fees range from £1,100 non-residential to £1,800 residential.

Peace, Conflict and Commemoration – call for papers 
The annual conference of the Conflict Research Society (CRS) will be hosted by the International Peace Studies programme at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin on 7-9 September 2016.  Individual proposals are invited bridging theory, empirics and practice in peace and conflict research. The conference seeks to generate debate and ongoing relationships between scholars and practitioners interested in key issues surrounding the dynamics of violent political conflict, dialogue, diplomacy and peacebuilding. We hope that this year's CRS conference will have a strong policy/practitioner voice in terms of the range of participants, papers and invited keynote contributions. It is also intended that the conference will continue its tradition of being multi-disciplinary and being open to the full range of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches to the subject. Paper and panel submissions are invited in the following sections: 1. Peace, Conflict and Commemoration 2. Scientific Study of Conflict and Cooperation 3. Peace and Conflict Studies 4. Connecting research and practice. Further details/To submit please go to the website:

International Women's Action on Nonviolence in India
This is an International Conference organised at the Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra which takes place from October 2nd – 4th October, 2016 followed by field visits in several states from 5th – 9th October and Evaluation, and Forward Actions & Mini Film Festival, at the Indian International Centre, New Delhi (to be confirmed),10th – 13th October. The objectives are advancing women's role in nonviolent action globally, showcasing women's nonviolent mobilisation and action strategies, and building international support and follow-up for women's engagement in Global Action 2020. Participants will include 50 international women activists from organisations around the world and up to 150 Indian women (experienced in nonviolent mobilisation for peace and the advancement of women). Costs for international participants start from €1,050 (depending on financial solidarity), travel extra. Further details and registration for European Participants: Ekta Europe / CESCI Support Association Switzerland, Margrit Hugentobler +41 79 7478467, e-mail

CEC up on arms
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) - the fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership - has issued a statement urging support for resolutions on arms export, arms embargo. The statement has been prepared by CEC's Thematic Reference Group on Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, and approved by the CEC Presidency. It includes "CEC urges strong support for European Parliament resolutions on arms export of 17 December 2015 and on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 25 February 2016 including arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. CEC constantly monitors developments regarding production, export and the use of weapons at European and international levels, especially in light of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the UN General Assembly 2013.... CEC .....urges governments of EU Member States to evaluate the consequences of arms exports to the Middle East and to take steps to cancel existing agreements, if necessary." Website: [Info: Church and Peace, whose AGM takes place near Paris from 10th – 12th June, ]

Bobby Gilmore on Syria
For the thoughts of Fr Bobby Gilmore, president of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, on the crisis for Syrian refugees, see the 'Creating signs of hope for Syria' website set up by Pax Christi International

Feasta and CapGlobalCarbon
Erik-Jan Van Oosten has said "CapGlobalCarbon is about co-creating a sustainable and fair global regime for the production of fossil fuels......We do not believe that the endless political bickering and UNFCCC conferences will achieve any meaningful process and would rather have climate science dictate how much CO2 we can safely extract. It is important to remember that we cannot negotiate with the climate.....We propose that fossil fuel companies have to buy a right to extract from all of us and that the amount of rights will be reduced each year to stay within the carbon-budget. The revenues are returned to all world citizens in equal amounts." CapGlobalCarbon now features in the Beautiful Solutions Lab on Naomi Klein's website. See and

Resource on Islamophobia
A useful 90-page resource on countering Islamophobia, from Charter for Compassion International.


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