INNATE Annual report for 2023

Violent conflict continued to very much be a feature of the year 2023, and climate heating denial and drifts to the right politically were also significant features internationally. In Northern Ireland conflict was limited to political stalemate. Sometimes witnessing to nonviolent and green alternatives in the midst of strong counter-blasts is as much as can be done; at other times a peace stand can make a real difference. And we believe that it will make a difference in the long term even if the going is currently difficult.

In relation to INNATE’s work, Nonviolent News was published in its full 10 monthly issues, with news supplements for the other two months. Issues for the email and web editions were typically 12 pages but ranged from 11 to 19 pages; the paper edition is just the first two pages of news. There is a huge amount of other material on the website and some of it was listed in Nonviolent News in early 2023;

The INNATE photo and documentation site continued to build; there are now nearly 2,700 photos group in 55 ‘albums’ (material on a particular topic). One significant new album in 2023 was coverage of the “people’s forums” in the Republic on neutrality and the so-called Consultative Forum on International Security Policy.

In relation to the above, StoP/Swords to Ploughshares Ireland, an anti-militarist and arms trade network which INNATE was involved in setting up in 2020 on an all-island basis, produced a very detailed and important report on the Irish government ‘Forum’. This showed clearly that it did nothing like what the government said on the tin that it would do, and certainly did not justify the proposed change to the ‘Triple Lock’ (government, Dáil, UN) on deployment of Irish troops overseas. StoP continues to meet regularly and plan activities.

INNATE also produced a couple of mini-posters on the Triple Lock theme (available at ). INNATE made a lengthy written submission to this ‘Forum’ and the coordinator protested at being excluded from making a verbal contribution with the unique contribution which would have been made – those involved in this exercise were largely handpicked to give the answers the Minister wanted.

It was a quiet year in relation to some aspects of INNATE’s work including training, public meetings and visitors though INNATE members are also very involved with other activities. INNATE continues to try to relate to a wide variety of groups and issues. The number of visitors, wishing to speak about the North and/or INNATE’s work and vision, are perhaps starting to pick up after Covid. The fact less queries come in to INNATE than some years ago is assumed to be because of the fairly comprehensive nature of INNATE’s online material (in its fields of reference). We were involved with one programme for NVTV, the Belfast community television station.

Meanwhile peace movement materials from INNATE covering nearly fifty years and which were donated to PRONI, the Public Record Office in the North, are now being catalogued there.

While there is no change expected in the near future, during 2024 INNATE will be discussing with others ‘in the field’ about longer term plans to ensure the continuation of some of INNATE’s functions such as the monthly dissemination of news on peace and related topics in Ireland, and the photo and documentation site which is run on Flickr. There is of course the opportunity for anyone anywhere to be involved with work supporting INNATE, and most meetings are held remotely on Zoom; if you might be interested in looking at involvement, we would be delighted to talk to you about possibilities

Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, February 2024