Category Archives: Annual reports

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. https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/category/nonviolent-news/ 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; https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/2023/02/01/archival-documentary-and-campaigning-materials-available-from-innate/

The INNATE photo and documentation site https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland 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’. https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/StoP-Report-Forum-on-International-Security-Mark-2.pdf 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 https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/posters/ ). 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

INNATE Annual report for 2022

Peace seemed a long way away with war in Europe (Ukraine) as well as many other parts of the globe, Northern Ireland still not at peace within itself, and the Republic getting sucked deeper and deeper into the morass of the arms trade and EU militarisation. Sometimes all that it is possible to do is state clearly that ‘there is an alternative’ and work, and hope, that people can see that alternative before it is too late. Already it is too late to avoid some drastic effects of global warming.

In terms of public presence, we organised a demonstration to call into question Thales arms production in Castlereagh, Belfast https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/51943904438/in/dateposted/ on St Patrick’s Day – this well attended event received additional attention because of the war in Ukraine (it was organised before that started) but one TV interview conducted during it was never aired, presumably because of an – accurate – description of corruption by Thales). However we did in mid-year run a discussion programme for community TV station in Belfast NVTV, and we hope to do more in this regard. https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/52245726256/in/dateposted/ We were also involved in promoting a picket of an Irish government arms event in Dublin organised by Afri; see https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/52408699982/in/dateposted/ and accompanying photos.

Early in 2022 INNATE handed over the coordinatorship of StoP/Swords to Ploughshares which INNATE had been involved in founding a bit more than a year previously. StoP is a an all-island network on the arms trade and demilitarisation and it continues to meet regularly online and organise webinars including a very useful one on ‘human security’. https://www.facebook.com/SToPIreland and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpcK1QYLk6M

INNATE completed the transfer of most of the peace movement archives it held to PRONI/Public Record Office for Northern Ireland. A full list of the material transferred is available on request. However a more extensive list of online materials on the INNATE websites was produced (https://innatenonviolence.org/ as the main website and https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland as its photo and documentary site). This listing has been included in Nonviolent News and is on the website at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/INNATE-online-listing-2023-for-web.pdf .

Nonviolent News was produced monthly in its usual 10 full issues and two news supplements (for January and August). https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/category/nonviolent-news/ The INNATE photo and documentary site now has upwards of two and a half thousand entries with many new additions during the year, both contemporary and archival, and this site has now had well over half a million opening of photos (you can see photos and a caption without opening them to see more detail).

Another production, at the start of the year was a 15-page publication, “Peace groups in Ireland through the years”. This is not intended as an exhaustive history but rather a listing since the 19th century with brief facts plus details about where to find further information, i.e. to signpost where to find out more for those interested, and the link is at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/pamphlets/ – it will be updated as needed.

INNATE ran a workshop on ‘Nonviolent struggle in the global South’ for the One World Festival in the North; a report appears at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/2022/11/03/the-effectiveness-of-violence-and-nonviolence/ The coordinator gave a keynote talk at the Afri Hedge School in TUD Blanchardstown on “The war in Ukraine, Irish and EU responses, and possibilities for peace”.

As with so many voluntary, political and community groups, you may get to see ‘the duck gliding serenely by’ – but not the energetic paddling going on under the water. INNATE is sustained by a small number of activists but in the Zoom and internet era ‘anyone anywhere’ can be involved – please get in touch if you might be interested in being involved in any way or have suggestions for work to be done. And as usual INNATE exists on a very frayed financial shoestring – and all work is done voluntarily – so subscriptions and donations of any size are very welcome.

– Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, February 2023

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. https://www.downpatrickdeclaration.com/ A StoP seminar on how Raytheon was kicked out of Derry was another important piece of work. https://youtu.be/Y0MxO1GmACQ

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. https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/51689114275/in/dateposted/ 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. https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/50862311953/in/album-72157616378924274/ 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. https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/51046065166/in/album-72157616378924274/

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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/ 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