INNATE Annual report 2021


Being pro-active and innovative is always easier to talk about than do but, strange as it may seem, the Covid era has made some developments more possible. The formation of StoP – Swords to Ploughshares – a network on the arms trade and demilitarisation in Ireland, and work INNATE has been doing on Irish peace movement history, have both been made easier by the shift to remote working.

StoP was started by INNATE following a seminar on the arms trade in late 2020; it is an independent, cooperative network which has had a good first year with involvement from Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Limerick and Galway among other places. It has acted as network, clearing house, and call to action. The highlight of the year for work in this area was undoubtedly the launch of the Downpatrick Declaration (originated from within Afri, and backed by INNATE and StoP); this proactive attempt to address militarisation in Ireland is a vital ingredient in work for peace. A StoP seminar on how Raytheon was kicked out of Derry was another important piece of work.

Work on peace movement history came to the fore for INNATE with two seminars in November, one on work to do with Northern Ireland and one on international peace work in Ireland. This endeavour will continue in 2022; so far as Northern Ireland is concerned, the work fits into INNATE’s ‘Civil society and the Troubles’ project, to record and accredit work done by all parts of civil society. Meanwhile five large boxes of INNATE’s peace movement ephemera, records and event files went to PRONI/the Public Record Office NI, with more to go, and other materials are seeking a home as part of downsizing.

Public manifestations were not entirely absent; the coming into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was marked by an event organised by INNATE at the police/PSNI headquarters at Knock, Belfast – and the British government reported for acting illegally. On St Patrick’s Day, Saint Patrick himself, along with supporters, appeared at Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast’s docks to drive out the drones being developed there for the RAF.

The usual 10 full issues of INNATE’s monthly publication Nonviolent News were produced in 2021, and a news supplement for January (there was none in August due to illness). In terms of length, issues averaged just over 10,000 words. One series which has been running has been on ‘Art and peace’ with interviews conducted by Stefania Gualberti, and this will continue. Each issue has had Larry Speight’s careful and informative ecological analysis, and Billy King’s more wayward musings.

The main INNATE website moved to using WordPress early in the year which means that it is usually online at the same time as the e-mail edition is sent out; all the old content is still there. The shorter paper edition resumed monthly despatch in the autumn with the ‘missing’ issues (due to Covid) being mailed out then.

The INNATE photo and documentary site, with considerably over two thousand entries on Flickr, has continued to build up and can be found at It should well surpass half a million photo views in 2022. To facilitate finding what might be sought, using the word search or else accessing material via the named 43 subject albums is recommended.

Many other explorations and engagements took place not detailed here. A draft listing of peace groups in Ireland since the 19th century was drawn up and circulated for comment, listing nearly sixty projects and organisations in all (a few of which came and went a couple of times) and this publication was finalised early in 2022.

Monthly INNATE meetings took place remotely in 2021, with additional planning meetings as necessary.. Everyone is very welcome to join in and ‘anyone’ ‘anywhere’ can participate; we very much welcome additional involvement (even in a very limited way) and greatly appreciate those who contribute financially as INNATE is run on a very frayed and tight shoestring – and all those involved in the work are volunteers.

Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, February 2022