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(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Number 249: May 2017

From Hunger and War: Afri Famine Walk, Co Mayo, 20th May
Afri's annual Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo, Famine Walk takes place on Saturday 20th May with the theme "From Hunger and a Home and a Welcome?", registration in Louisburgh from 12.45 and beginning at 1.30pm. Walk leaders are - Donnah Vuma, living in Direct Provision and campaigning for asylum seekers rights; Abjata Khalif, a journalist involved in sustainable development in Kenya; Danny Cusack, involved with various issues and human rights organisations; music by Joe Black. A CD featuring some of the musicians who have played on the walk since be available on this the 30th anniversary of the walk. Shuttle buses will bring walkers to Delphi Lodge where there will be a ceremony before walking the 11 miles back to Louisburgh (a shuttle car is available as needed). Walkers are asked to contribute €24 including payment for the shuttle bus or to get more in sponsorship. Afri, 134 Phibsborough road, Dublin 7, ph 01 – 8827563, e-mail

Mairead Maguire on Korea
Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire made an appeal to President Trump on 25th April regarding Korea:
"The people of North and South Korea want peace and they want a peace treaty. They do not want their country to be bombed or their government to bomb others. Having visited both North and South Korea last year and walked with thousands and thousands of Korean women, North and South, I am convinced that peace is possible and what is needed is the political will of all parties to the conflict to dialogue and for negotiation to move from a Korean armistice to a Korean peace treaty.

I therefore would like to appeal to President Trump and this administration not to carry out a military strike on North Korea, but to use the means of dialogue and diplomacy to reach a peace treaty for North Korea. Such peace leadership by President Trump will give hope to the people of Korea and all of humanity.
The people of the world need to know that peace is possible between all the human family and that there are political leaders who have the courage to move from enmity to friendship and war to peace."

Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, became the first head of state to formally welcome the introduction of an "International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day" which has taken place for the first time this year on 26th April. The day was given official designation by the United Nations following Adi Roche's address to the General Assembly last year on the 30th anniversary of the devastating accident. Michael D Higgins said: "As Uachtarán na hÉireann, I join with others across the globe who will today mark "United Nations Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day".  On this terrible day, 31 years ago, the world's worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl in the Ukraine occurred.  It was a dark day in human history."

"Ireland's response was unique; we were one of the first countries to respond to the humanitarian crisis by providing support for and meeting the needs of thousands of Chernobyl's victims.  Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International has become a world leader in supporting and advocating for the children who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster across the stricken regions."

"Across 3 generations Chernobyl Children International has maintained this pioneering role through the extraordinary work of its tens of thousands of volunteers.  In recognition of this incredible magnitude of work and advocacy, CCI has been internationally recognised by the United Nations as the only UN sanctioned NGO working in the Chernobyl region."

Meanwhile Adi Roche, founder and voluntary CEO of CCI, said; "I am keenly conscious of the gargantuan task ahead in Phase 2 dismantling the site at Chernobyl.  This unprecedented step will require international guidance and support into the future, and we must be vigilant that the safe disposal of the radioactive material inside the crumbling reactor is the highest priority.  In Ukraine and Belarus alone 1 million children still live, eat, sleep, breathe in this radioactive environment and on their behalf, we need to focus on the quick development of technologies to safely dispose of the ticking-threat that is Chernobyl".

George Mitchell Institute: Conflict Transformation Festival
The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast has a Spring Festival currently running. See details which include, upcoming, events on genocide and mass killing; 'Art, populism, racism and the migrant crisis'; World War 1, Muslim and Loyalist identity; a lecture by former Finnish President Tarja Halonen on women and peace-building; and a documentary on intercultural personal histories.

Peace networking meeting Belfast
The Peace People are organising a get together session at 7pm on Tuesday 9th May, 2017 when all are welcome to the Peace House for a brain storming session on current peace and international issues, including both the present Northern Ireland political impasse and broader issues. Tea and coffee will be provided. 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 6GE, ph 028 90663465, and web

Lessons from Rwanda
We can be very selective on situations which we compare ourselves with, and which we try to learn from. Addressed to evangelical Christians but adaptable to any Christian group, "Lessons from Rwanda – Biblical reflections for the church in Northern Ireland" is a very interesting new resource from Thrive in association with Contemporary Christianity. There is a 24 page booklet as part of the resource package looking at the relevance of the Rwandan experience for Northern Ireland in terms of forgiveness, justice, reconciliation and repentance. Contact Thrive Ireland at 241 Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 1Af, ph 028 90730068 / mobile 077-49056403. E-mail and Contemporary Christianity is at

Chelsea Manning release celebrations
Plans are afoot to celebrate Chelsea Manning's release in Ireland, both during the period of the Afri Famine Walk in Co Mayo on 20th May (see first news item) and the following day, Sunday 21st May from 5pm – 8.30pm at the Teacher's Club in Dublin to stand in solidarity with Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy over their Shannon action, to celebrate Chelsea's release, and to remember Chelsea's uncle Kevin Fox who died recently.  Some of Chelsea Manning's family from Wales will be present at the latter event. Contact for further details.

Tools for Solidarity Benefit Gig, Belfast
Tools for Solidarity in Belfast has its Annual Tribute to Bob Marley on Friday May 5th featuring Terri Hooley and guest DJs in the Pavilion Bar, Ormeau Road, Belfast. Admission £5 with proceeds going to Tools for Solidarity.

Fracking ban progresses in Republic
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment has published a report on its scrutiny of the Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016 (fracking ban). The Joint Committee is broadly in favour of passing the bill as it stands, with minor revisions. The bill will now progress to the Select Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, where it is expected to be discussed in May. See Shale Gas Bulletin for 15th April 2017 and Environmental Pillar

Support the soil
The Environmental Pillar has launched a new social media campaign - #Selfie4Soil - to boost public awareness of the People4Soil campaign. The Environmental Pillar - a coalition of 26 national environmental NGOs - is leading the Irish branch of the campaign, calling on the European Commission to pass a Soil Directive. Unlike air and water which benefit from European directives, no such safeguards exist to protect soils from pollution and mismanagement. The Pillar is asking people to sign a European Citizen's Initiative petition, with 8,000 signatures required in Ireland for the petition to pass.

Wholly Inadequate: National Mitigation Plan
The Irish Government's long overdue draft National Mitigation Plan is almost wholly inadequate to meet the climate challenges ahead, according to Ireland's leading environmental organisations. The Environmental Pillar, together with Stop Climate Chaos, has outlined its findings on the draft Plan in a submission sent as part of a public consultation which has now closed. Ireland may soon become the first state to divest from fossil fuels and join a small list of progressive nations to ban fracking, while the signing of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act in late 2015 was a positive step forward. ""This progress is to be lauded; however, it will all be for nothing if we move forward with the current draft Plan as it largely fails to meet obligations set in the Climate Act, the Paris Agreement and EU targets, and will leave us facing alarming emissions increases up to, and beyond, 2050.......the Plan fails to adequately address key emissions drivers, namely agriculture, energy production and transport." 21 recommendations to ensure a revised plan is fit for purpose are included.

Community Relations Week 2017
The theme for Community Relations and Cultural Awareness week in Northern Ireland this year is "Shared space, safe place" and will run from the 18th – 24th September. Details and entry form will be posted on the CRC website shortly

Stop NATO 2017
On May 24th and 25th, NATO leaders will be present in Brussels for an important NATO summit and for the inauguration of their new headquarters. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has announced that many new billions will be spent on the military, and he urges Europe to do so too. The rise of defence budgets up to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product will undoubtedly be one of the most important topics at this summit meeting. In opposition to this there will be nonviolent direct action, a peace rally, peace camp etc. See for more details.

Not so thin air
As alarming evidence grows of the health damage caused by air pollution, Dublin Friends of the Earth has called on the Department of Environment and Climate Action to agree strong and decisive action in its first-ever proposed National Clean Air Strategy; "The Government has a duty of care to protect all of us, and especially the most vulnerable, including the very young and the elderly." The WHO estimates 1,500 premature deaths a year in Ireland due to air pollution. Ireland (Republic) has only 31 air monitoring stations compared to Scotland's 88, and no real time information displays for the public. Dublin FOE states the solutions are clear and simple including clean energy, adequate information, energy retrofits to homes and buildings, community energy schemes, and big investment in cycling and clean public transport. The Dublin Friends of the Earth Submission to Minister Naughten's consultation on air quality is online here.


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