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

Number 258: April 2018

Building Security: Trust or Fear
This is the title of a conference taking place on 20th April at The Helix, Dublin City University, Dublin 9 hosted by Dublin City University, the Quaker Council for European Affairs Brussels and the Dublin Quaker Peace Committee, running from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm. It aims to bridge academics, policy makers and civil society to discuss the new security environment and changing roles and responsibilities - in a Europe in which increased paranoia is used as a political weapon against the "outsider", how do we play a role as citizens in defining a policy which will direct action to take us away from fear and return us to trust? This event is open to everyone interested in this challenging situation. Topics include “What does security mean in Europe and what is our vision of the European Union as a security provider?” and “Are the roles of military and civilian actors complimentary or opposing?”

Speakers and convenors of sessions include John Doyle (opening remarks), Maria-Adriana Deiana, Ian Anthony, Anna Penfrat, Girogio Porzio, Andrew Lane, Murray T Guptill, Olivia Caeymaex, Maria Mekri, Maura Conway and Kenneth McDonagh (closing remarks). A buffet lunch will be served. The conference is a free event but to assist with the organizing of the event please register your interest in attending with or (from whom further information can also be obtained).

Putting the Good Friday Agreement to rights
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. A series of seminars are planned, beginning on the date that the Agreement was reached, to consider the opportunities and challenges civic society faces in realising the rights-based society envisaged within the Agreement. The seminars are being jointly organised by the Human Rights Consortium, CAJ, UNISON, Queens University Belfast and the Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute.
The first one will take place from 9.00 – 11.30 am on 10th April at the Stormont Hotel, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast when it is intended to reflect on the provisions of the Agreement relating to human rights and equality, discuss the challenges facing their implementation, and outline the programme of seminars that will follow through the rest of 2018. Immediately following the event those attending are invited to Stormont for a photo opportunity marking the 20th anniversary of the Agreement and calling for the implementation of a genuine human rights and equality framework and on that basis a return to devolved government. To find out more information and to register please see or follow the link at  

Military flights through Shannon
The breakdown of military flights through Shannon and other Irish airports in 2017 is provided on Shannonwatch’s website, courtesy of a question in the Dáil by Clare Daly TD, see This shows that, of the 515 requests received by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 1 was refused and 15 were cancelled. The vast majority of these (451) were for military aircraft landing at Shannon Airport; of the 451 military aircraft landings at Shannon in 2017, 402 were US military aircraft, the next country in terms of numbers was 17 from France, with other countries having requests in single figures. A much larger number of military aircraft, mostly from the US, pass through Irish airspace. During 2017, there were 1,749 overflights of Irish airspace by military aircraft. Of these 1420 (81%) were US military planes – “In other words, almost 4 US military aircraft pass through Irish airspace every day.”

Opportunities with VSI
Voluntary Service International (VSI) in Ireland is part of a worldwide volunteer organisation dedicated to promoting a culture of peace. It has a wide variety (nearly 700) of volunteering opportunities at home and abroad including short-term summer schemes of a diverse nature such as conservation, permaculture, helping with leisure activities in an asylum seekers’ centre, or supporting vulnerable young people. VSI is also looking for volunteer project coordinators, aged 21+, for projects in Ireland this summer (application deadline 20th April). European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people (18-30 years, participants from Republic only) the opportunity to volunteer in another country for up to 12 months, either within or outside the EU; the EVS programme is funded by the European Union as part of their official Youth Programme and participants receive free accommodation, food, insurance and monthly ‘pocket money’. VSI organises information events, the next one is 12th April in Dublin. VSI organises regular Preparation/Training workshops for volunteers or meets with individual volunteers before departure and those applying will be given information on this. Further information at VSI, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 8551011.

AVP seeks new facilitators
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) seeks new volunteer facilitators. AVP's training is powerful and provides extremely useful professional and personal skills in conflict resolution and facilitation, and working in prison is a very rewarding experience. AVP currently runs workshops in prisons in Dublin, Limerick, Castlerea, Cork, Portlaoise, Cavan, and Arklow as well as in the community. It takes approximately a year to be fully trained (around 4 to 6 workshops) and AVP asks their volunteers to commit to run 3 workshops per year, once trained. For more information contact Dorothée at or phone 085 1512582. See the website:

Rohingya, Myanmar meeting, Belfast
The Peace People have organised an evening with Dr Maung Zarni on Thursday 12th April at Fredheim, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast; the meeting entitled “Genocide in Myanmar / Burma - United Nations : A system failure or failed system?”. A scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30-years of involvement in the Burmese political affairs, Maung Zarni has been denounced as an "enemy of the State" for his opposition to the Myanmar genocide. RSVP
by 9th April, Peace People, 224 Lisburn Road BT9 6GE, ph 028 90663465 and e-mail website

Genocide in Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Dublin seminar
Subtitled “ ‘United Nations: ‘A System Failure’ or a Failed System?” this seminar takes place on Wednesday 11th April from 6.00 – 8.30 p.m. in G16, Irish School of Ecumenics – Loyola Institute Building, Trinity College Dublin, organised by the Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice. Speakers are Denis Haliday, Maung Zarni, Seraphine Habimana, and Bāshana Abyewardane. Places are limited please register by 5 April 2018 to Dr. Jude Lal Fernando

Belfast plaque for Saidie Patterson
A blue plaque was unveiled on 8th March (International Women’s Day) at the Methodist Church, Shankill Road, Belfast which Saidie Patterson attended, marking her life as a trade union and peace activist. She died in 1985. See and

Eileen Weir receives NI community relations award
Eileen Weir has received the 2018 Community Relations Exceptional Achievement Award which she was presented with on 27th March at the Community Relations Council’s (CRC) annual David Stevens Memorial Lecture in Belfast. Eileen Weir said ““As an outreach worker based at the Shankill Women’s Centre, I’ve dedicated my career to community relations in north and west Belfast and to similar work throughout greater Belfast. Over the years I’ve seen many ups and downs, but I work every day on the ground on with all our local communities. We’re beyond the traditional divide of Catholic and Protestant and our communities encompass so much more diversity.”

Irish concern at British nuclear expansion
A press conference on 29th March, backed by among others the Irish Environmental Network and the Environmental Pillar, raised concerns about the State's failure to consult Irish people on UK nuclear expansion in advance of the upcoming deadline (17th April) for submissions to the public consultation on the UK's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. There are eight new nuclear plants proposed in the UK, five of which would be located on the west coast of the UK facing Ireland; geological or underground/undersea storage for radioactive waste is being considered, including locations in Northern Ireland and under marine waters; extending the operating lifetime of older nuclear plants is also on the table. and

Farming and climate change
On 6th March representatives from the Environmental Pillar told the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee that Ireland must chart a new agricultural course to be serious about tackling climate change and protecting the livelihood of farmers. In particular, ongoing expansion of the meat and dairy sector has led to significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Presenting the key findings from a joint report with the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, Pillar coordinator Michael Ewing laid out the need to support the likes of sustainable agroforestry, bioenergy crop agriculture and the protection of peatlands.

Women in Peace
A worldwide listing of around a thousand women peacemakers appears at and though searchable by region or name, the level of detail is brief (they welcome comments and additional information), and Mary McAleese and Mairead Maguire both appear under ‘Great Britain’. The calendar is particularly useful.

Justice and peace shall embrace
This year's Annual General Meeting and International Conference of Church and Peace will take place in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (North London), from 21st to 24th June. The title is “Justice and Peace shall embrace” (Psalms 85:10) - Journeying together for reconciliation in a fractured Europe”. Register by 28th May via the website Church and Peace is a European ecumenical peace church network of communities, training centres, peace organisations and peace service agencies. Mittelstraße 4, 34474 Diemelstadt-Wethen, Germany, Tel: +49 5694 9905506

Amnesty calls for undercover cops enquiry to include North
Amnesty International has called for an undercover policing enquiry in Britain to include Northern Ireland, pointing out that former Justice Ministers David Ford and Claire Sugden already called for this. Meanwhile the April-May issue of Peace News reports a walkout from the London inquiry by people targeted by undercover police due to disgust with the lack of disclosure and the direction taken by the chair.

Afri films; Famine walk, death sentence
New short films available from the Afri website include one on the which took place in February Meanwhile Sonia, ‘Sunny’ Jacobs and Peter Pringle are both death row survivors. Sunny was exonerated in 1993 after 17 years in prison while Peter had his conviction quashed in 1995, having spent 14 years in prison. They met in Galway while campaigning against the death penalty and are now married and living in Connemara, where they’ve established to help other death row survivors and those who’ve been wrongfully convicted. Both films available through links on the Afri website at

NI Environment Week, September
The purpose of Environment Week is to celebrate the built and natural environment and encourage discussion on a wide-range of environmental issues. This year, Environment Week in Northern Ireland will run from 24th - 28th September. If you would like to feature an event in the 2018 programme, you can complete a form to return to NIEL (Northern Ireland Environment Link). Keep an eye on the NI Environment Link website for further info or subscribe to their e-Bulletin.

Eco-Congregation Ireland
The Eco-Congregation Ireland newsletter is always a great source of information and ideas on Christian ecological activities. Their annual review for 2017 is and the website has information on subscribing to their newsletter at

WRI webshop
War Resisters' International (WRI) publishes a range of books to support movements against the causes of war and violence. There is now a new web shop - as well as books, there are bags, t-shirts and hoodies, and pin badges. See and click on ‘Shop’ in top bar.

Not seeing the wood for the trees
According to the Environmental Pillar - a coalition of 30 national environmental organisations - the Forest Statistics Ireland 2017 report gives false reassurances that Ireland's afforestation rates are improving. ” While the report states that forest cover is at its highest level in over 350 years at 10.5 per cent, in reality, Ireland's overall forest cover has barely moved in recent years and we still pale in comparison to our EU neighbours (33.5 per cent average). “
 “It is high time that we shift support toward more sustainable native tree cover initiatives, which have a fantastic ability to absorb pollution and convert it to carbon, and do not require fertilisers or pesticides unlike current commercial non-native tree plantations. A recent letter by 190 international scientists told the EU to make this very move, stating a clear preference for mixed species, native planting over pulp, fibreboard, and paper oriented products.” See here and here.


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