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

Number 282: September 2020

Good Relations Week, 30 years of CRC
Good Relations Week in Northern Ireland runs from 14th - 21st September with the theme ‘Celebrating our journey, embracing our future’ and there are over 150 events taking place, many onlne. Go to and click on ‘Events’ (which you can select by council area).

As part of this there is an online session organised by the Community Relations Council on 14th September at 2.30pm entitled ‘A Better Normal’ with Eamon Phonenix and Maire Braniff taking a look back at peacebuilding and reconciliation work over the last 30 years. Book by e-mail to

Consensus, with de Borda and INNATE
What does ‘consensus’ actually mean – and how can you arrive at it? This short online workshop will take people through some of the options available either through group work or voting. It is run jointly by INNATE and the de Borda Institute and the couple of hours will break down roughly as a third on small group consensus, a third on consensus (preferential points) voting, and a third looking at how these can be used in participants’ own contexts. 10am – 12 noon on Tuesday 15th September. Book to

Food for Thought – Seeds of Change
On September 11th from 12 noon to 2pm there will be a lunchtime on-line gathering and discussion on topics such as food, seeds and loss of social space in the context of the Covid pandemic .Dr Clare O’Grady Walshe will speak about food sovereignty with particular emphasis on the absolute importance of seeds. There will also be a contribution from Fergal Anderson, farmer and founder member of Talamh Beo, and live music by Tommy Hayes and Matthew Noone. This event is hosted by Afri and Feasta in partnership with Irish Seed Savers Association and Maynooth University. To book go to and click on ‘Events’ (with lots more to read on this website).

Victory by Friends of the Irish Environment at Supreme Court
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) won an historic victory at the Supreme Court on the last day of July in relation to Irish climate plans, or the lack of them: “The landmark Supreme Court judgment held that the Government’s National Mitigation Plan, a main plank of its climate change policy, failed to specify the manner in which it is proposed to achieve the ‘national transition objective’, as required by the Climate Act 2015.” Because it is enshrined in law, the government is obliged to act and show it is acting adequately; the Supreme Court found large parts of the plan were “excessively vague or aspirational”. See

Extinction Rebellion countdown
The ‘new’ Irish government promised a climate action bill within 100 days of government formation. The XR/Extinction Rebellion website at has a countdown clock to this 100 days – which is up on 4th October. Find out more about XR on this website. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, XR activists made a hundred mile journey along the River Bann by foot and canoe, from its source to the sea outlet at Castlerock, to highlight issues along the way including issues of pollution, roadway expansion and the extraction of sand from Lough Neagh.

Front Line Defenders publish Cypher digital magazine
Front Line Defenders has launched a new monthly digital magazine Cypher – Comics as Eyewitness. This project advances the organisation’s storytelling and narrative framing work in collaboration with and in support of human rights defenders (HRDs). Working with artists from around the world, including the award-winning visual storyteller, Beldan Sezen, as creative director, the ’zine will be a monthly publication featuring 3 or 4 stories of HRDs, their work and the challenges they face. Each month, Front Line Defenders will collaborate with comics artists from around the world, pairing them with HRDs to develop stories that portray their work and the challenges, risks and threats they face. The first edition features stories from Kenya, Pakistan, Lebanon and Brazil. The magazine is hosted at and on Instagram (@cypher_comics). This item was in the August supplement

Seán MacBride award for Black Lives Matter and Hibakusha group
The International Peace Bureau (IPB) is giving its 2020 Seán MacBride Peace Prize to two groups, Black Lives Matter and the International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha. Black Lives Matter is a decentralised human rights Black liberation movement working in different countries. The International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha was launched in April 2016 in the name of prominent Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, demanding the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Eco-Congregation: Planetary emergency – How to have hope
This online event run by Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) will take place on Saturday 3rd October from 10.30am to 12.30pm via Zoom. Speakers are Professor John Barry, Sr Nellie McLaughlin and Denise Gabuzda who have backgrounds in science, faith and social policy and will show how to have hope for the future and take practical action. More details about the event and speakers on the ECI website at and click on the link. You can also sign up there for their newsletter or click on ‘Learn more’ for further resources.

Season of Creation: Cultivating hope
The Christian ‘Season of Creation’ runs from 1st September to 4th October (feast day of St Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Ecology) with a focus on prayer and action to protect the natural world or creation, ‘our common home’ and could be described as the churches’ eco time. The Diocese of Kerry Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Committee, in conjunction with the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Council for Catechetics, has a webinar on Thursday 17th September at 8pm on the theme ‘Cultivating Hope’ with keynote speaker Lorna Gould and local activists. To register for this hour long free webinar please email 064 6632644. See also the ‘Justice’ section of the Diocese of Kerry website which includes a video of the JPIC ‘Season of Creation’ launch.

AVP update
The Alternatives to Violence Project has been responding as best it can to the coronavirus situation which has severely curtailed programme. Various sessions have been run remotely and the AGM will take place on 10th September, also remotely. “We miss our teams, the community we created, the work, the atmosphere of the workshops, the good laughs, the friendly words, the many opportunities for learning, and the many jokes... 

We still don’t know when we are able to resume our work, but we have worked hard on complying with all the new regulations, getting appropriated training and adapting our ways of doing things, so that we can work again, as soon as prison authorities consider it is possible and safe for everybody” (taken from AVP August Newsletter).

UNSCR 1325: Progress, Gaps, and Opportunities
Leading up to the 20th anniversary in October 2020 of UNSCR 1325, the landmark resolution of the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is convening a three-day online consultation, conducted through Platform4Dialogue, starting from Tuesday 15th September and ending on Thursday 17th September, to hear from WILPF members, partners, peacebuilders, and other relevant WPS practitioners on their assessment of the WPS agenda implementation. Ahead of the consultation they are asking for input from registering participants on areas of discussion. Please register by 12th September at

COVID-19 and impact on local peacebuilding

In April 2020, Peace Direct along with Humanity United and Conducive Space for Peace held a consultation on Covid-19 and local peacebuilding, The report from the first consultation is available online To further understand how work and partnerships have been affected by the global pandemic over the last six months, Peace Direct is holding a second consultation. Using Platform4Dialogue, there will be a two-day consultation on Tuesday 29th September and Thursday 30th on the topic of COVID-19 and its impact on peacebuilding over the last six months. Local peacebuilders from around the world are invited to take part. Register here.

World Beyond War petition to nuclear states

World Beyond War (WBW) have launched an appeal from the people of the world to nine nuclear governments to each commit to a nuclear policy of no first strike, not ever, not for any reason; and to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and to collectively agree to immediately begin disarming on a schedule to completely eliminate all nuclear weapons from the earth no later than August 6, 2045. See and click on the link to find out more and sign.

ICCL: New privacy role, spit hoods campaign

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is campaigning strongly against spit hoods which are full hoods which are forced over a person's head and neck; they can cause suffocation, as well as panic and distress. ICCL strongly believes the forced hooding of anyone is contrary to human rights law and that the answer to any need for protection for gardaí is proper PPE. The Garda Commissioner is reviewing their use currently and ICCL is calling on people to contact him on the matter. More info at

Meanwhile a new appointment within ICCL is of Dr Johnny Ryan, who has a great track record in this area, in a new privacy role as a Senior Fellow on the ICCL Information Rights Programme.

Following in the footsteps of the disappeared
Video and material from programme on this theme from a collaboration between Conflict Textiles, Ulster University and Ulster Museum can be seen and accessed online. Ulster Museum are hosting a virtual exhibition – which is still very moving - on this theme through to the end of August 2021.

Covid-19 feminist recovery plan
A COVID-19 Feminist Recovery Plan has been developed by the members of the Women’s Policy Group NI. This thorough and detailed 126 page plan reflects the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women both locally and globally, and sets out recommendations for decision-makers. At the core of the plan is the belief that recovery planning in NI must be co-developed with the communities affected and done in a way that takes into consideration the institutionalised inequalities within society. The report can be downloaded at This item also appeared in the August supplement

Compassionate Integrity Training for youth
Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) and the Center for Compassion are marking the International Day of Peace and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations on 21st September (the 2020 theme for International Peace Day is Shaping Peace Together) by giving the world's largest course in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to students and youth (18-34 years old) worldwide – to help them cope with the stress, anxiety and loneliness that all are feeling. This cultivates skills such as empathy, mindfulness and compassion to foster the development of peaceful and sustainable societies. See info at For one take on CIT see


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