Tag Archives: Peace news

News, December 2023

Triple lock removal: No surprise but underhand

Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Defence, Micheál Martin announced in the Dáil on 22nd November his intention to remove the ‘triple lock’ (one strand of which includes the go ahead of the UN Security Council) on the deployment of (more than a dozen) Irish troops overseas on ‘active service’. https://www.thejournal.ie/triple-lock-changes-micheal-martin-6229725-Nov2023/ He said that this was the first opportunity he had had to speak to the Dáil in detail on the issue since the ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ in June. What Martin did not say was that he had long been gunning (sic) to remove it, had chosen the Forum format and the speakers there to get the answer he wanted, and, as Catherine Connolly TD stated in response, had depicted the Forum as the start of a conversation on neutrality but he had now ended it. Martin proposes alternative ratification which would be meaningless, such as EU approval – which could be the EU approving Irish involvement in the actions of an EU army!

What was also not covered is that the discussion on the triple lock at the Forum was wholly inadequate and inconclusive – see the StoP report available at https://www.swordstoploughshares-ireland.com/ and in particular page 23 plus. The thoroughness of this StoP report can also be contrasted with the flimsiness of the official report by the chair of the Forum, available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/36bd1-consultative-forum-chairs-report/

ICCL launches Enforce unit re human rights on tech

In mid-November ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties launched a new unit, Enforce, to investigate, advocate, and litigate to protect human rights globally in relation to technology, industry practice, and markets. Liam Herrick, Executive Director of ICCL, said “…Ireland’s unique position in the international digital realm means we’re uniquely positioned to undertake this work”. It is an area where ICCL has been working for some time; they are currently litigating in Germany, Belgium, Ireland, and Luxembourg. They state “We will push technology back towards democratic value. Our mission to protect human rights also helps protect journalistic media, enact smart law, and curb online hate and hysteria.” https://www.iccl.ie/enforce/

MNI courses….and work with private sector

Upcoming courses over the next number of months organised by Mediation Northern Ireland (MNI) can be found on their website at https://mediationni.org/training/#upcoming including a one day course on Dealing with difficult conversations, a three day programme on Immersive conflict resolution practice, a one day Workplace conflict resolution skills course, and an 8-day Mediation theory and practice course in April and May 2024. Meanwhile MNI has gained major Lottery funding which will enable it offer new training programmes and wrap around services for businesses and statutory organisations across Northern Ireland to get better at dealing with conflict – they quote that “Recent research from the Labour Relations Agency found that workplace conflicts cost the Northern Irish economy over £850 million every year.” https://mediationni.org/lottery-grant/

CAJ: NI Troubles Act, counterterrorism and human rights

CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice have issued a compendium of submissions and critiques it made regarding the controversial Northern Ireland Troubles (Reconciliation and Legacy) Act 2023 which became law in September 2023, despite criticism both from within Northern Ireland and internationally. This detailed and authoritative 146 page compendium is available at https://caj.org.uk/publications/reports/compendium-of-caj-legacy-bill-submissions/

l The annual CAJ lecture has Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin speaking at 3.30pm on Tuesday 12th December in central Belfast on ‘Reflections from the UN Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights 2017-2023’; see https://caj.org.uk/latest/caj-annual-lecture-2023-featuring-professor-fionnuala-ni-aolain/

Pax Christi Peace Award to Parents Circle – Families Forum

The 2023 Pax Christi International Peace Award is going to the Parents Circle – Families Forum which is a collaborative Israeli-Palestinian organisation comprising more than 700 families, all of whom have lost a close family member due to the continuing conflict; the PCFF firmly believes that the process of reconciliation between the two nations is an essential precondition for attaining a lasting peace. https://paxchristi.net/2023/11/08/the-parents-circle-families-forum-receives-2023-pax-christi-international-peace-award/ and https://www.theparentscircle.org/en/pcff-home-page-en/

Corrymeela: Shine a light for peace

Corrymeela has a ‘Shine a Light for peace’ Christmas fundraising campaign with a variety of options to support their work including individual donations, doing it collectively with named tags for donors, or organising an event. Further info at https://www.corrymeela.org/donate/shine-a-light-for-peace

Mairead Maguire on ending current wars & Ed Horgan interview

A November podcast of Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire in discussion with David Swanson of World Beyond War on ending current wars – running time 29 mins – can be found at https://davidswanson.org/talk-world-radio-mairead-maguire-on-ending-the-current-wars/ An interview with Ed Horgan, in the same slot, on Why Genocide/War Continues is at https://worldbeyondwar.org/talk-world-radio-ed-horgan-on-why-genocide-war-continues/

Chernobyl Children Int’l: Support needed, archives to UCC

Chernobyl Children International need support for their ongoing work. CCI has been working within the Chernobyl Region (Ukraine and Belarus) for over 36 years and are striving to get humanitarian aid, which includes food, water, and medicines, to children and their families who are in desperate need, as well as performing life-saving operations for children with ‘Chernobyl heart’ and helping provide supported living.

See https://www.chernobyl-international.com/

l Meanwhile the CCI archives, founded 1991, and those of its founder Adi Roche – including previous peace work as a CND activist – have been deposited at UCC.

Housmans Peace Diary 2024 with World Peace Directory

Paper diaries are not as ubiquitous as they once were but for the peace/social justice/environmental activist a Housmans Peace Diary is an important resource at your fingertips for building a peaceful world. 2024 sees the 71st edition of the diary, with a feature on 50 years of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, a significant organisation in the British peace movement – and internationally – plus a listing of over 1400 national and international peace, environmental and human rights organisations. The format is two pages to a week with anniversaries noted, quotes, a forward planner etc. Order online from www.housmans.com/peace-diary/ It is priced at UK£9.95, with a £2 discount per copy for 10 or more in the UK; postage is £2 flat rate in UK postal area or £6 outside it, irrespective of the number of copies ordered. Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, ph +44 20 7837 4473.

A more extensive version of the World Peace Directory in the Diary is available online at http://www.housmans.info/wpd/ It is worth reading the background information on the web in the site home page to get the best use out of it. And as their blurb says “It’s the most comprehensive and up-to-date database of its kind” – don’t be caught out without a contact when heading to Ulaanbaatar……

Everyday Peacebuilding

Everyday Peacebuilding https://everydaypeacebuilding.com/ is a very useful website where you can see a growing compilation of resources on peacebuilding. Taylor O’Connor wanted to build a global community of peacebuilders who could share learnings and resources and support each other. The idea was to connect and share creative ways to build peace and justice and taking care of peacebuilders’ wellbeing too. People can sign up and each week they will receive in their inbox a selection of resources on building peace from around the world.

These are the values at the base of Everyday Peacebuilding: “Simplicity. Content and products will be user friendly and accessible. Creativity. Content and products present creative approaches to peacebuilding.

Exploration. Content and products support community members on their personal peacebuilding journeys.

Diversity. Representing the ideas and perspectives of diverse peacebuilders from around the world is important in our content and products. Our community is intentionally global. Collaboration. We’re building a global community of peacebuilders and in doing so create spaces for community members to connect, share ideas, take collaborative action and support one another.”

Resources go from definitions of violence and peacebuilding to analysis tools for conflict transformation, from quotes for peace to blog pieces that tackle current global issues under the peacebuilding lens. In the newsletter the topics usually vary, there is a diversity of topics (gender, education, anti militarisation, art and peacebuilding…) and links to articles or resources from different places around the world. There are private facebook chats as well on the different topics, for people to communicate, share ideas, links and events worldwide. It is very accessible and inviting for people who are new to peacebuilding but also for who want to know more and get connected.

Our mission as active nonviolence”

A useful and perceptive short statement on nonviolence, made in late October, by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, can be found in different places including https://paxchristi.net/2023/10/26/cardinal-bo-our-mission-as-active-nonviolence/

Crimes Against Lough Neagh

Friends of the Earth NI has a few tickets left for this panel discussion from 1-5pm, on Friday 15th December 2023, at the MAC in Belfast, with Bernadette McAliskey, Prof Mark Emerson, Bróna MacNeill, Sam McBride, Shauna Corr and Tommy Greene, and chaired by John Manley. It will include breakout sessions where people will be invited to share their ideas on a recovery plan for the Lough. Book at https://friendsoftheearth.uk/about/events-northern-ireland

FOE on COP28, and opportunity for Christmas support

Friends of the Earth in the Republic has been busy campaigning on COP28 and are involved in the Christmas gift card market whereby for each €20 you donate “for the protection of our planet and all its inhabitants” they will post you a specially designed gift card that you can give to your friend – this will include your friend’s name, the amount donated in their name and your name. https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/

Eco Congregation newsletter now monthly

Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI), the Christian church green network, is now issuing its newsletter monthly; you can sign up to receive it at info@ecocongregationireland.com ECI recently welcomed Anna Byrne as the new Catholic representative. https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

Billy King: Rites Again, 315

Billy King shares his monthly thoughts –

Gender equality, how are ye

It caught my eye on the BBC NI website on 27/11/23: three stories in a row about the treatment of women and girls. Under the heading of ‘Latest updates’ were three stories in a row, “Childminder’s husband jailed for abusing children”, “Upskirting and cyber-flashing laws come into effect”, and “Medic admits sterilising woman without her consent”.

The first story was about a former senior civil servant from Co Down who sexually abused two young girls (age unspecified) in his wife’s childminding care. The second story might be considered ‘good news’ in that new laws came in to effect on upskirting, downblousing and cyber-flashing with perpetrators potentially facing up to two years in prison and up to 10 years on the Sex Offenders Register. But the question underlying this is – why was this new law necessary? The NI Assembly (remember it?) had backed this law in spring of 2022 before the Assembly disappeared in a puff of smoke, with the bill, now law, being introduced by Naomi Long. And the final story was about a male consultant gynaecologist in a regional hospital in the North who admitted sterilising a woman without her permission and without medical need.

These are three stories covering different aspects of the treatment of women and girls in our society, all concerning aspects of what I would consider violence against them. These things happened to happen in the North but could be anywhere. You could come up with many other examples from different aspects of life and society. It doesn’t look very much like equality for women and girls, does it.

Bill Hetherington

The death of long time British peace activist Bill Hetherington removes another of the ‘old’ faces from the peace movement there. He was 89 years old. While associated most with the PPU/Peace Pledge Union (where, incredibly, he was on their Council for fifty years) it is hard to think of a substantial peace initiative in past decades, in Britain or internationally, that he was not involved with. He was well informed on, and involved with, Northern Irish and Irish matters and, if I recall correctly, had some Irish blood in him. He was involved with the BWNIC campaign to withdraw British troops from the North and subsequently was on trial in 1975 for his involvement in that (and was imprisoned for a while, accused of breaking bail conditions) – were the BWNIC 14 encouraging British soldiers to disaffect? Maybe they were but fortunately were found not guilty.

An appreciation of his life as a peace activist can be found at https://www.ppu.org.uk/news/peace-movement-mourns-lifelong-pacifist-campaigner-bill-hetherington and there is a great photo of him there, looking a bit like an old seafarer – and he certainly had to negotiate lots of choppy waters in his time.

The INNATE coordinator remembers fondly the socio-political walking tour of Dublin that he (Rob Fairmichael) conducted for a group from the 2002 WRI/War Resisters’ International Triennial conference. This ran, or rather perambulated, from the Garden of Remembrance to the Dáil; he would give a short take on the relevance of the building, memorial or topography involved….and then Bill would, as was his wont, extend it “with the due parts of legal and constitutional history in detail” as the Triennial newsletter related. There is a photo of just such a scene at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/3269226483/in/album-72157613605954884/ Small of stature, Bill Hetherington was a big presence. For me he was one of those people who I didn’t have much contact with on an ongoing basis but knew were contributing hugely to work for peace I definitely feel sad that he is no longer around.

Shannon ‘not being used’ – but Varadkar is…..

Ah yes, the main supplier of lethal equipment and just as lethal money to Israel is of course the good oul USA. It was kind of Leo Varadkar to tell us https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2023/11/19/shannon-airport-not-being-used-by-us-to-supply-military-equipment-to-israel-varadkar/ that Shannon Air/Warport is not being used by the USA to move military supplies to Israel. He has the USA’s word on that.

But since the Irish state never inspects what is coming through on US military or military-contracted planes he really doesn’t have a clue. And while the US army has no boots on the ground directly fighting in Gaza – I am sure there are lots of military advisors somewhere – he might think that is OK. But any support to a military aggressor or supporter of aggression is plain and simply wrong. And despite the atrocities committed by Hamas in southern Israel on 7th October I think we can be quite clear that Israel is an aggressor in its assault on civilians in Gaza. And, in general (and for generals), armies need soldiers so transporting soldiers through Shannon is every bit as nefarious as transporting weapons.

The Irish state is complicit in supporting US military aggression. [full stop]

EU Bottlegroups

Useful little piece by Conor Gallagher in the Irish Times of 16th November https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2023/11/16/ireland-faces-embarrassment-as-just-35-troops-volunteer-for-eu-battlegroup/ and follow up on 23/11/23. The first story was that “Ireland faces embarrassment as just 35 troops volunteer for EU Battlegroup”, less than a fifth of those needed from Ireland for a German-led ‘rapid response’ battlegroup being formed in January. It would be good to think that this was Irish soldiers voting with their feet not to get involved. The Irish Times reported that “It will act in support of UN-authorised missions and will also be deployed to aid humanitarian crises and support existing peacekeeping missions that face heightened difficulties” but given the plan to remove the Triple Lock on deployment of Irish troops overseas, and developing EU militarism, it is a further move towards Irish military integration with other military powers.

However this article and the follow up indicated that reluctance to sign up may be mainly due to uncertainty about additional financial allowances for being part of the battlegroup (interesting term that, they don’t even use a euphemism – which they are so good at – such as ‘peacekeeping group’). It is expected that the government will introduce financial incentives to get the 182 soldiers they need (however, it being an army, if needed soldiers could be ‘volunteered’). However amazingly Ireland already withdrew from participation in military peacekeeping in the UNDOF operation in the Golan Heights to get involved in this battlegroup which will be training for most of the next year and on standby for 2025.


Is it a new mint flavoured confectionery in rounded star shape? Or a rather unpleasant tasting confection currently out of production? The varmints in Starmint, the House on the Hill, are still not meeting thanks to a DUPlicitous party. Please note I am not saying other political parties are not or cannot be duplicitous, it is just as clear as day that the DUP turned what they saw as electoral survival into a principle. And there are principles involved for unionists who have been sold down the river, again, by a British government intent on its own nationalist project and their desire for survival.

But unionists are not the only people in Northern Ireland, or indeed in the United Kingdom to which they have allegiance. And while they stick to their principles the whole of Norn Iron is going down the tubes in relation to most things – including health and social services, poverty, community groups and the services they provide, and education (how can anyone hope to pull out of such a downward spiral when education funding is cut so badly?). The economy is just ticking over with remarkably low unemployment but also lots and lots of low pay. And Chris H-H as Shockretary of State compounds the problem by using, and adding to, the suffering of ordinary people as a weapon to try to get the DUP back in residence in the House on the Hill. I was thus wondering whether Chris Heaton-Harris deserves the title of (Vindictive to a) Tee-Shock. Meanwhile Troubles victims have been terribly short-changed again.

What a mess. While the new year was being signed up in the last while as a possible point for a return departure, the stars do not seem to be aligned [is Sammy a star?] for, or rather within, the DUP who may struggle on with an assembly boycott while the North falls apart at the seems (sic). Perhaps political bravery could win out but I suspect what is in store is that is not mint to be in NOrthern Ireland. I hope I am wrong, I would be delighted to be proven thus.

Waking up

It’s official, sort of. The Irish – and in Ireland generally culturally Catholic – way of death is superior, certainly compared with another western European island. It is something many of us have known for a long time, and Kevin Toolis’ book “My father’s wake” is on the topic, but research has now proven it (usual caveats…) that active social engagement and collective remembering after the death of a loved one can help you. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-67462985 “The Ulster University study, which involved more than 2,000 people, looked at prolonged grief disorder (PGD). It described the disorder as an enduring yearning for the deceased persisting for more than six months. About 10.9% of grieving people in Ireland featured in the research fulfilled the disorder’s criteria, compared to 15.3% in the UK. The study does go on to say “cultural differences with regard to death may be an explanatory factor” in relation to waking and so on.

So not only is the West a-wake but much of the rest of the island too. You may not be able to wish ‘slainte’ to the deceased but being able to do it to and with their kin, even with a cup of tea, can assist in coming to terms with the death. There is no simple answer or time limit to, or remedy for, grief when you lose your nearest and dearest. But waking can help and waking up to that fact is important so it is never lost.

Recently we have come on for a cold spell (blame the witch/wizard/warlock though I thought the last of these was Micheál Martin’s alternative to the Triple Lock….) but I have bright red salvia still in full bloom in the gordon, however the current cold may knock them on the head – being in a city and only a few k’s from the sea we escape some frosts manifested elsewhere.

But Christmas and New Year festivities and break are coming up fast and so I wish you an enjoyable and restful time (when you get there!) and, as always, a Preposterous New Year – the new year will be well established when I join you again. One piece of good cheer is that a song about Norn Iron trade union and peace activist May Blood is to be released just before Christmas https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/song-about-work-of-ni-peacemaker-for-christmas-release-a-lot-of-people-dont-really-know-who-she-is/a2133175073.html

Let’s hope, and work that, 2024 is more peaceful than the current year – Billy.

News, November 2023

Freedom to Choose? StoP report on International Security Forum

The report from StoP, Swords to Plougshares Ireland, on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ was published the day after the official report from the Forum chair, Dame Louise Richardson. The StoP report, entitled “Freedom to Choose?”, is at https://www.swordstoploughshares-ireland.com/report (and other websites) while the official report is at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/36bd1-consultative-forum-chairs-report/ The individual submissions made by civil society will be published by DFA in due course. The official report is 27 pages including appendices but under 16 pages of actual report; the StoP report is around 50 pages.

Louise Richardson’s report is analysed in an editorial in the email and web editions of this issue. The StoP report has a preamble which sets the scene regarding Irish neutrality and security before four different authors carefully scrutinise each day of the Forum proceedings. It also includes coverage of one of the “People’s Forum” meetings, in Galway, and the full text of Lelia Doolan’s unscheduled intervention in the official Galway Forum. There are four pages of conclusions and recommendations.

StoP’s conclusions include: The Forum was biased in intent, design and implementation and therefore valid conclusions cannot be drawn from it: Discussion of the ‘triple lock’ on deployment of Irish troops overseas was wholly inadequate and does not in any way justify change in this area: It was not an open ‘Forum’ as in the dictionary definition and common understanding since the speakers were only those chosen by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Department: The format of the Forum was inadequate to deal with the issues properly: Various topics were systemically avoided including the use of Shannon Airport by the military of the USA: The Department of Foreign Affairs proclaims its commitment to disarmament but it promotes Irish involvement in the arms trade and lauds its contribution to nuclear disarmament but is now openly involved with NATO, a nuclear armed alliance committed to first use of nuclear weapons.

Palestine/Neutrality/Ukraine demo, Dublin, 4th November

2pm on Saturday 4th November sees a big Dublin demonstration, starting at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square with the themes “Stop Israel’s assault on Gaza / Defend Ireland’s neutrality / Stop the war in Ukraine”. A variety of organisations are backing it, including Irish Neutrality League, Irish Anti-War Movement, World Beyond War, Shannonwatch, Peace People, FEIC, Cork Neutrality League, Veterans for Peace, Independent Workers Union, TCD SU. See various including https://irishantiwar.org/ https://neutrality.ie/ http://www.shannonwatch.org/ https://www.facebook.com/CorkLeague/

MII: Awards at annual conference, Mediatators in midst of war

The annual conference of the Mediators’ Institute Ireland (MII) took place in early October in Cork. One highlight of this was the presentation to Catherine O’Connell of a Generosity of Spirit Award and to Geoffrey Corry of a Lifetime Achievement in Mediation Award; for video see https://www.themii.ie/mii-award-winners Geoffrey Corry’s account of some of the early story of mediation, “The story of Dublin City Mediation (DCM) after 25 years” can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/2a4nnu7v (and accompanying entries). Another feature of the conference was an Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Naoimh McNamee, CEO and Mediator with Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, discussing 25 insights that have helped or hindered peace in Ireland. Keynote speakers were Hon. Ms. Justice Siobhán Lankford on the judicial system and mediation, and Prof Noam Ebner on ‘Mediation, Artificial Intelligence, and Change’. https://www.themii.ie/

lAn online seminar on ‘Connecting mediators in the midst of war’ takes place on Monday 6th November at 5.30pm with speakers Ken Cloke, Mediator Vikram and Mohammad Hadieh as they share their thoughts and insights on unfolding events in Palestine and Israel. They will also discuss the role of the mediator and the world mediation circle in fostering understanding. Participation is free, register at clr.ie/135140 and a Zoom link will be sent.

Nurturing hope – and a learning journey

Nurturing Hope’ is an extensive five–book learning resource, written by Derick Wilson, Duncan Morrow, J. Jean Horstman and Dong Jin Kim, being published by the Corrymeela Press. It will be available shortly as an open source resource. The five individual titles in the ‘Nurturing hope’ series are Background fundamentals, A facilitator’s guide, Understanding relationships, Some dynamics of conflict-affected cultures and societies, and Some dynamics for hope. Please email shonabell@corrymeela.org to order a copy of the Nurturing Hope resource.

There will be a related extensive ‘Learning Journey’ 5-day residential programme running each summer 2024 – 2027 involving Corrymeela, Mediation Northern Ireland, TIDES and the Understanding Conflict Trust. The ‘Learning Journey’ is for those seeking to create spaces through which people who are divided can “experience the intimacy of our honest differences”. It draws on Corrymeela members’ decades of experience and was developed with learning partners in South Korea and the USA. This is a detailed and in depth programme with some details available at https://www.corrymeela.org/programmes/nurturing-hope/summer-learning-journey

Glencree Centre for Reconciliation

A detailed annual report on Glencree’s work, entitled ‘Peacebuilding for the next generation’, can be found at https://glencree.ie/homepage-highlight/annual-report-2022 including detailed accounts of the various different programmes (though if you want the financial report you will need to download it). Meanwhile a relatively new staff member is Dorothée Potter-Daniau who has the newly created position of Measurement, Evaluation, Research & Learning (MERL) Manager. Glencree CEO Naoimh McNamee said: “Dorothée’s appointment to the new role of MERL Manager comes at a very exciting time in Glencree’s development. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organisation next year, we are focused on realising the goals of our 5 Year Strategic Plan which includes establishing Glencree as a national and international Centre for Practical Peace Education and Learning Exchanges.” https://glencree.ie/

Corrymeela: Dialogue for Peaceful Change training

Dialogue for Peaceful Change (DPC) is a global training programme developed by practitioners working in national and international conflict settings around the world. The DPC methodology offers a practical toolkit and methodology for managing key aspects of both interpersonal and group conflict. There will be a training running at Corrymeela from 18 – 22 March 2024, cost TBC. More details and contact info at https://www.corrymeela.org/events/237/dialogue-for-peaceful-change-training

PANA on ambassadors, supporting Shannon protest

PANA/Peace And Neutrality Alliance has issued a press release about the importance of ambassadors at a time when some call for, e.g., the Israeli ambassador to be expelled. Edward Horgan, International Secretary of PANA said “Expelling ambassadors in time of war is a serious mistake. While we may not like the ambassadors in question and we may not like or agree with the actions of their governments, it is vital to keep diplomatic lines of communications open at such critically important times” and “Neutral countries especially should be playing an important role in promoting an end to those conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East, the Sahel region in Africa, and elsewhere.” https://www.pana.ie/

Meanwhile the next Shannonwatch/Uplift/PANA rally at Shannon Airport against US military use is on Sunday 12th November at 2pm; subsidised bus from Dublin, contact info@pana.ie You can also help fund Dan Dowling’s Shannon nonviolent action fine https://www.gofundme.com/f/ShannonAirport

FOE Act Local campaign

Friends of the Earth has begun an Act Local campaign to assist local activists by focusing on two important issues or campaigning topics, Space for Nature and Connected Communities. There are how-to guides and briefings. See https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/act-local/

CAJ: Impunity video, jobs

The important recent seminar, ‘Impunity and the NI legacy bill – 50 years on from the Pinochet coup’, is now available to view online; this was hosted at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), and was organised with CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), and the International Expert Panel on Impunity and the Northern Ireland Conflict. See https://caj.org.uk/latest/event-video-impunity-and-the-ni-legacy-bill-50-years-on-from-the-pinochet-coup/

l Meanwhile CAJ are recruiting a Senior Research and Policy Officer and a Project Research & Campaign Worker for the Migrant Justice Project, deadlines late November. See https://caj.org.uk/latest/caj-is-recruiting/

ICCL: GDPR, Garda, hiring

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has expressed concern at internal investigation into alleged Garda human rights violations in the Lynskey and Kerrigan case, stating that an independent investigation into the role of An Garda Síochána is required. ICCL has also prepared amendments to the European Commission’s proposal for procedural harmonisation on cross-border GDPR enforcement, identifying four primary flaws in the Proposal. Meanwhile they are hiring a new Membership and Development Officer, deadline 20th November. https://www.iccl.ie/

Eco-Congregation: News, Leinster gathering

As always, the newsletter of Eco-Congregation Ireland, the church green network, has a round up of news, island wide. They also have an upcoming online meeting for anyone interested or potentially interested in Leinster, 10-11am on Saturday 11th November; contact info@ecocongregationireland.com to attend. https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

Church and Peace: Overcoming racism in the church

A short report on the Church and Peace European conference on this topic is available at https://www.church-and-peace.org/en/2023/10/racism-and-the-church-a-needed-debate/ and there is more news and resources on the same website. Church and Peace is an ecumenical church peace network.

Palestine-Israel peacebuilding job

An international peaceworker is being hired by KURVE Wustrow & New Profile to be based in the Jerusalem/Bethlehem area in Israel/Palestine, working on a variety of issues including planning and implementation of a Civil Peace Service project focussing on objectors to military service. The deadline for applications is 12th November. Details at https://pzkb.de/stellenanzeigen/international-peace-worker-m-f-d-in-jerusalem-bethlehem-area-in-israel-palestine/

News, October 2023

Peace Heroines exhibition continues touring

The exhibition on women heroines of peace in Northern Ireland which has now been circulating for a considerable time – launched at Stormont on International Day of Peace, September 2022 – is well worth seeing; it consists of 28 panels. It was created by Herstory https://www.herstory.ie/peace-heroine-stories and forthcoming venues can be found at https://www.herstory.ie/new-page A showing at 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast ends on 6th October; subsequent venues through to autumn 2024 include Down County Museum, North Down Museum and Ards Arts Centre, Iontas Centre in Monaghan, Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, Coleraine Museum, New Shankill Women’s Centre in Belfast, and Donegal County Museum.

Conversation on Gospel Nonviolence

Pax Christi Ireland and the Loyola Institute (Trinity College Dublin) are hosting a ‘Conversation’ to deepen Catholic understanding of and commitment to Gospel nonviolence. Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI) was initiated at the Vatican in 2016. https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/ The main speakers are Marie Dennis and Pat Gaffney, CNI, followed by a panel on the practice of nonviolence with representatives of EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel), Spirasi (The National Centre for Survivors of Torture in Ireland) and INNATE. It takes place in the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin on Saturday 14th October from 10.30am – 2pm. Registration from 10am. Booking via Eventbrite https://bit.ly/PaxChristiDublin

Lough Neagh’s a-wake

Lough Neagh should be a jewel in Ireland/Northern Ireland’s crown – instead it is a cesspool along with much of the north’s other waterways. While some of the causes are complex or multi-layered, the lack of action has been shocking – it has been an issue that green groups such as FOE-NI have been campaigning on for years. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/nature/lough-neagh-why-europes-wildlife-jewel-needs-space-breathe Now, however, it has at last reached public consciousness, including through a wake for the lough at Ballyronan on 17th September. See Larry Speight’s EcoAwareness column in the email and web editions

Could rights based-safeguards make Stormont functional?

Friday 13th October from 2 – 5 pm sees a seminar in Belfast exploring whether it is possible to unlock sustainable governance through reforming the present structures of the NI Assembly and Executive in line with the rights-based safeguards intended under the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement. It is organised by the Equality Coalition and Transitional Justice Institute, supported by the LSE Gender, Justice and Security Hub. There are well known contributors and two panels, one on Vetoes or safeguards? An exploration of mechanisms, and the second on Women’s rights and social transformation. As well as in-person attendance the event will be livestreamed. Details and booking at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/could-rights-based-safeguards-make-stormont-functional-tickets-711233517597

White Poppies: Remembering and committing

As the ‘remembrance season’ of November approaches there is the opportunity to wear a white poppy as a symbol of remembrance for all those who have died in war (not just soldiers and not just British forces as with the red poppy) and show a commitment for peace and against war. The Peace Pledge Union in Britain have white poppies for sale in small packs or larger display boxes, along wth posters, postcards stickers etc. See www.ppu.org.uk where the biodegradeable poppies are UK£5 for 5, £20 for 25, or £68 for 100, plus postage. Email mail@ppu.org.uk

Police Surveillance North and South

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) have a joint conference looking at the issues of surveillance and oversight in policing in the North and South. It take place from 9am to 5pm on Tuesday 24th October at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin. Speakers include: Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney , Baroness Nuala O’Loan, David Kaye, Professor Marie Breen-Smyth, Dr Abeba Birhane, Jonathan Hall KC, Alyson Kilpatrick BL, Dr Daragh Murray, and John Wadham. The keynote plenary will discuss the human impact of covert surveillance and the lack of international legal regulation on the matter; panel discussions will cover facial recognition technology (FRT), covert surveillance, and policing oversight bodies as a means of accountability. Register at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/police-surveillance-north-and-south-tickets-714670658177 for your free ticket with further details there. https://www.iccl.ie/ and https://caj.org.uk/

FOE impact report, jobs

Friends of the Earth Ireland has issued its annual impact report for the last year which includes its goals and work realised – Learning Hub events, campaigning including on Warm Homes for All, the work of Young Friends of the Earth among much else. Over 950 submissions were made to consultations in the year. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w82a1FT5o88 and https://friendsoftheearth.cmail20.com/t/t-l-vxitly-jrktjjkhkl-j/ Meanwhile the closing date for applications for the posts of Communications Content Officer and Fossil Free Ireland Campaigner is 8th October, see https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/news/job-alerts-were-recruiting-a-communications-content-officer/ By the end of 2023 the staff numbers will have tripled from 2019.

Call for independent inquiry into case of Sallins Men

Four leading human rights organisations – the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) and Fair Trials delivered a petition on 19th September to the Irish Government asking the Minister for Justice to establish an inquiry into the abuse suffered by Osgur Breatnach, Michael Barrett, John Fitzpatrick, Nicky Kelly, Brian McNally, and Michael Plunkett (deceased). The lives of these six men, known as ‘the Sallins Men’, were changed irrevocably when they were arrested, detained, charged, convicted and imprisoned following the Sallins Train Robbery in 1976. The statement from the organisation concerned states “Their case remains one of the most significant miscarriages of justice in modern Irish history. The abuse they suffered – and the continuing suffering they endure – is a violation of their human rights. To date, there has been no effective investigation into their case.” The petition asks for a human rights compliant investigation, conducted in accordance with the standards required following a breach and violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 3 is the absolute prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. https://www.iccl.ie/ https://caj.org.uk/ https://www.patfinucanecentre.org/ https://www.fairtrials.org/

Sunny Jacobs appeal

After her release from a US prison in 1992 where she spent 17 years for a crime she didn’t commit, Sunny Jacobs became a yoga teacher and a campaigner. For over thirty years, she has been a leading international voice for forgiveness, redemption, justice, and reform, calling for an end to the death penalty, and support for people who have been wrongfully convicted. She moved to Ireland after meeting Peter, and the two of them established the Sunny Healing Center in rural Connemara, where they have offered a space for healing and respite to dozens of individuals who have faced miscarriages of justice. They also spent years travelling the world speaking in schools, universities, at conferences and in the media, calling for reform…..” After recently losing her beloved husband, Peter, who provided a vital caring role for her, friends are appealing for financial assistance to help meet her needs. More information and links on the Gofundme page https://www.gofundme.com/f/send-some-love-and-solidarity-to-sunny-jacobs

European peace activists under threat

It can be a difficult and even dangerous task being a peace activist, especially in a time of war. Yurii Sheliazhenko, a well-known conscientious objector, pacifist, human rights defender and the Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, was placed under house arrest in mid-August, supposedly for justifying Russian aggression – despite having specifically condemned it! Letters of solidarity can be sent using a template at https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2023/ukraine-release-yurii-sheliazhenko and World Beyond War has also delivered a petition on his behalf https://worldbeyondwar.org/petition-to-be-delivered-to-ukrainian-embassy-in-washington-d-c-on-monday/ At a court sitting in mid-September, the prosecution has not yet proceeded, perhaps due to international attention.

Meanwhile also well known Olga Karatch, a Belarussian activist now in Lithuania, director of ‘Our House’, was denied political asylum in August but given a one-year temporary residency. But this is no safety for a prominent peace and human rights activist who would face immediate imprisonment if returned to Belarus. See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2023/international-campaign-protection-and-asylum-human-rights-defender-olga-karatch for more info and links to sending solidarity letters.

Both Olga and Yurii are very impressive activists who deserve any support they can be given…

l Meanwhile there is a campaign for the protection and asylum for all from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine who refuse military service and a call for actions from December 4, 2023 to the International “Human Rights Day” on December 10, 2023. See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2023/take-action-objectwarcampaign-4th-10th-december-2023

ICCL on Garda bodycams

The Irish Council fo Civil Liberties has cautiously welcomed the announcement from An Garda Síochána that they will pilot the introduction of bodyworn cameras before moving to a national roll-out. See https://www.iccl.ie/press-release/bodyworn-cameras-pilot-must-ensure-fundamental-rights-are-protected-iccl/ for details

ForcesWatch on Legacy Act and Troubles podcasts

ForcesWatch is a UK organisation dedicated to investigating militarisation, military ethics and human rights concerns. It has produced coverage of the Legacy Act https://www.forceswatch.net/comment/erasing-accountability-in-the-troubles/ and a mini-series of three podcasts about Northern Ireland; these have interviews with Lee Lavis, Fiona Gallagher, and Ian Cobain https://open.spotify.com/show/6bdLyHplM6s1tfwV8u5LA6

News, September 2023

Tangled web of lies from Irish governments

For decades the government of the day has always sought to assure citizens that Irish neutrality, prized by said citizenry, is safe, despite doing everything they could to undermine it. Training in demining for the Ukrainian army was non-lethal, they said, rather dubiously. However assurances that support to Ukraine was solely non-lethal have fallen apart with the revelation that support being offered includes military tactics and training in shooting and marksmanship. The Irish Neutrality League stated that if this proceeds “it will represent an unprecedented contravention of Ireland’s already seriously compromised neutrality.” https://neutrality.ie Questions have also arisen about what the limited number of Irish soldiers got up to in Afghanistan. With the report from Louise Richardson on the June ‘Consultative Forum on International Security’ due in the near future there are likely to be further assaults on neutrality such as the ‘triple lock’ on deployment of Irish troops overseas. However one picket on the Department of Foreign Affairs has already taken place and further actions will follow. See also editorial in this issue

Advancing Nonviolence: Pax Christi Ireland

On Saturday 14th October, 10.30am – 2.00pm (registration 10am) there will be an event run by Pax Christi Ireland in conjunction with The Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI) which is a project of Pax Christi International. The main speakers are Pat Gaffney and Marie Dennis (the latter remotely) along with a panel on different aspects of nonviolence. The venue is the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin, and booking details will be available in the October issue. Contact: Tony D’Costa, Pax Christi Ireland, email: tdc1@paxchristi.ie The CNI website is at https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/

Frederick Douglass statue goes up in Belfast

A recent positive memorialisation is the erection of a statue of US former slave, antislavery activist, social reformer and pro-feminist Frederick Douglass in Lombard Street in Belfast – the first in Ireland (though there are plaques to him in Cork and Waterford). Douglass spent quite some time in Ireland and was very appreciative of the welcome and support he received. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-66358247 Perhaps next on the list can be a statue of Belfast anti-slavery activist and humanitarian Mary Ann McCracken…..

QUB+ study of Troubles trauma services

Undertaken by Queen’s University Belfast in association with others, the study “Conflict, Trauma and Mental Health – How Psychological Services in Northern Ireland Address the Needs of Victims and Survivors” was produced for the Commission for Victims and Survivors. It makes a number of detailed comments and recommendations on addressing unmet needs, and the authors state “In treating victims’ needs as societal needs, we build on a solid foundation towards a future that offers peace, prosperity and growth for all who live here.” https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/publications/conflict-trauma-and-mental-health-how-psychological-services-in-n but you may have to go through hoops to get the full report. See also https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/social-affairs/2023/08/07/troubles-linked-trauma-in-north-untreated-for-decades-report-finds/

Report urges increased Northern arms trade

A report from the British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) advocates increased Northern Ireland involvement in UK arms production, particularly highlighting the ‘big three’ of Thales, Harland and Wolff and Spirit AeroSystems but also looking at cybersecurity. See https://www.rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/occasional-papers/defence-industry-northern-ireland-leveraging-untapped-potential It advocates the North getting a larger share of the massive British arms industry, selling the proposal on ‘prosperity’ and jobs despite nationalist objections (and obviously there is no coverage of the irony of a place previously wracked by a small scale war contributing to warfare elsewhere). This item also appeared in the August news supplement

Good Relations Week, 18th – 24th September

The annual showcase of ‘good relations’ projects in the North takes place from 18th – 24th September to “celebrate the remarkable peace-building and cultural diversity efforts to tackle sectarianism, racism, and inequality across the region.” See https://goodrelationsweek.com/

ICCL Annual Report 2022

The detailed report from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties on its very varied and expanding work in 2022 is available on their website at https://www.iccl.ie/?s=annual+report

CAJ: Poverty, relationships, migration, legacy

The August issue of Just News, produced by CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice https://caj.org.uk/publications/our-newsletter/just-news-august-2023/ contains important considerations well worth reading on issues as varied as the urgency of having an anti-poverty strategy in Northern Ireland, relationships and sexuality education, the Illegal Migration Act and its incompatibility with international human rights law (and particular considerations concerning the North), and the ‘notorious’ NI Legacy Bill, plus other coverage. There is also a briefing paper on the CAJ website on the Illegal Migration Act and its impact on the land border in Ireland.

Impunity and the Northern Ireland Legacy Bill

Monday 11th September from 2 – 5 pm in Belfast sees a hybrid seminar on ‘Impunity and the NI legacy bill – 50 years on from the Pinochet coup’ – exploring combatting impunity, both internationally and locally, on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1973 Pinochet coup in Chile. It is hosted at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and organised with CAJ, the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), and the International Expert Panel on Impunity and the Northern Ireland Conflict. Both in person and online tickets are available, indicate when booking. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/impunity-and-the-ni-legacy-bill-50-years-on-from-the-pinochet-coup-tickets-695450369777

Amnesty International on surveillance of journalists in North

Amnesty International has issued succinct guidelines for journalists or human rights defenders in Northern Ireland who suspect they may have been spied upon by the PSNI. See https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/northern-ireland-journalist-guide-what-do-if-you-think-psni-has-been-spying-you

CGE: Development education and democracy webinar report

The Centre for Global Education’s June seminar on their issue of Policy and Practice on Development education and democracy is available on their website at https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/ and the issue itself at https://www.developmenteducationreview.com/

Feasta: Cap and Share, Annual Report

Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Feasta has joined with five other NGOs on four continents to launch a new Cap and Share Climate Alliance for a fair global fossil fuel phase-out at source; see https://www.capandsharealliance.org/ Meanwhile Feasta’s annual report for 2022 is available on their website at https://www.feasta.org/annual-report/ along with lots more info.

World Beyond War (WBW) awards, conference

In their annual awards for 2023, WBW has given their Individual War Abolisher Award to Sultana Khaya, the Organizational War Abolisher Award to Wage Peace Australia, the David Hartsough Individual Lifetime War Abolisher Award to David Bradbury and the Organizational Lifetime War Abolisher Award to Fundación Mil Milenios de Paz. See https://worldbeyondwar.org/war-abolisher-awards/ and links for the compelling stories involved.

l Meanwhile WBW’s online conference #NoWar2023 Conference: Nonviolent Resistance to Militarism takes place from Friday 22nd September to Sunday 24th September. See https://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2023/ and the programme for the opening day includes a keynote speech by Jørgen Johansen and a panel on unarmed civilian protection and accompaniment.

FOE: Left out in the cold, seminar on energy poverty

Friends of the Earth has an online seminar on Monday 4th September from 7pm where they will be discussing the impacts of energy poverty and solutions to the associated crises – in the current year in Ireland the percentage of households in energy poverty reached 29%. With a mix of activists and practitioners the seminar will dig into the human impacts of this issue and what decision-makers can do to solve it, particularly in the run-up to Budget 2024. https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/events/left-out-in-the-cold-a-webinar-on-energy-poverty-and-energy/

Stop Fuelling War/Cessez d’alimenter la guerre

Stop Fuelling War is a French association which exists to promote peace and disarmament, and contribute towards a world free of war, where conflict is resolved through peaceful means and where human security and human rights are prioritised over personal gain or the financial interests of the arms industry. They report “We are building on SFW’s five-year track record of promoting non-military responses to conflict resolution, presenting alternatives and working with other actors in the field……to promote non-military responses to conflict resolution and promote security based on justice, cooperation and sustainability.” Lots of useful info on their website at https://www.stopfuellingwar.org/en/

BOLD Climate Action

BOLD Climate Action is an educational project by and for older people – supported by Friends of the Earth – and has dialogue and action series starting in September. The first event is on Energy Costs, Older People and Climate Crisis, taking place in Green Street, Dublin 7 at 11am on Tuesday 12th September. https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/events/energy-costs-older-people-and-the-climate/ Further sessions are on Just Transition & Older People (Tuesday 17 October, 11 am), Global Climate Justice & Older People (Tuesday 14 November, 11 am) and Intergenerational Solidarity & the Climate Crisis (Tuesday 23 Jan 2024, 11 am). bold.climate.action@gmail.com

News, July 2023, NN 311

Neutrality and ‘security’: Peace protests are felt

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Department held all the cards in setting up the ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ in the Republic but peace and neutrality activists and groups made plenty of noise and contributions contrary to the establishment view. They were able to raise severe doubts about the enterprise during the process which the Minister had designed to get the result he wanted in removing the ‘triple lock’ on the deployment of Irish troops overseas. See Editorial and article by Dominic Carroll in email and web editions for more details and resource links immediately below. Civil society’s effort was obviously greatly assisted through comments from President Michael D Higgins who correctly identified an (undemocratic) ‘drift’ towards NATO.

For those wanting to learn more, much other information is available:

1. An excellent general overview of the issues by Carol Fox appeared in the Irish Examiner www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-41169388.html See also Martina Devlin in The Irish Independent, 23rd June (paywall).

2. A photo album on the Citizens’ Forum meetings, and the Consultative Forum on International Security and protests regarding the same appears on the INNATE photo site at


3. Afri’s recent booklet on Irish neutrality “A Force for Good?” is available for purchase (€10) www.afri.ie The video (68 minutes) of the recent online launch of this publication is worth watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMpOi6gnSkg and there is a shorter 22 minute documentary from Afri on the issue at


4. Slides from presentations by Dr Karen Devine, providing valuable detail, appear on her website at https://www.drkarendevine.com/

5. For an international view which supports armed defence by neutrals see https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/06/06/ukraine-russia-war-neutrality-nonalignment/

6. The official programme of the ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39289-consultative-forum-programme/ and 4 days of video are available https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/00e68-follow-the-forum-online/# (you have to agree to the cookies) and you can make up your own mind about the balance or imbalance on particular panels, and on the whole process.

Advancing Nonviolence: Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

On Saturday 14th October, 10.30am – 1.30pm there will be an event run by Pax Christi Ireland in conjunction with The Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI); this is a project of Pax Christi International to deepen understanding and commitment to Gospel nonviolence. The main speakers are Marie Dennis and Pat Gaffney, CNI. The venue is the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin, and further details will be available in September. Contact: Tony D’Costa, Pax Christi Ireland, email: tdc1@paxchristi.ie The CNI website is at https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/

NI NGOs call for urgent anti-poverty strategy

Dire cuts to services and support to those in need are in process in the North. On 28th June NGOs, trade unions, and academics called for an anti-poverty strategy based on objective need to be a day one priority for a new NI Executive at a seminar held in Stormont. The half day seminar on ‘Progressing an anti-poverty strategy for Northern Ireland’ was organised jointly by the Equality Coalition, Barnardo’s NI, and Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network (NIAPN). Northern Ireland has been waiting for an anti-poverty strategy for almost twenty years. The 2006 St Andrews Agreement contained a legal obligation for the NI Executive to develop a strategy to tackle poverty, social exclusion, and patterns of deprivation based on objective need. See https://caj.org.uk/latest/ngos-call-for-urgent-progress-on-an-anti-poverty-strategy-for-ni/

ECHR and NI Legacy Bill

CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice has welcomed the Interim Resolution from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe published on 8th June. The resolution records ‘serious concern’ that there has been no tangible progress to address concerns the legacy bill is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In particular, the Committee of Ministers has called on the UK authorities to reconsider the proposed amnesty scheme and the shutting down of legacy inquests. See https://caj.org.uk/latest/caj-welcomes-new-human-rights-resolution-from-european-ministers/

Good Relations Week in the North: 18-24 September

This year’s theme for Good Relations Week in the North is ‘Together’; coordinated by the Community Relations Council, this showcases many different examples of work on eradicating sectarianism, racism, and inequality and has a focus on cooperation, inclusivity, and progress. For more information on Good Relations Week 2023 and to register an event, visit https://goodrelationsweek.com/

FOE on LNG: Petition to stop government backsliding

Irish Friends of the Earth is campaigning against the government possibly permitting a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) storage facility. FOE state “One of the Green Party’s conditions for going into Government was that the coalition Government would oppose the development of LNG terminals for importing fracked gas into Ireland. Highly polluting fracked LNG was a red line issue – and rightly so. But now we’re worried that Minister Eamon Ryan may be considering a U-turn on long-standing Green Party policy on LNG.” Further info and an online petition on the FOE website at https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/act/say-no-to-government-u-turn-on-lng/

l FOE have an Action Pledge you can take at https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/act/friends-of-the-earth-action-pledge/

ICCL: Facial recognition illegality by Dept of Social Protection

A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) reveals for the first time that the Department of Social Protection has known that its biometric processing of personal data arising from the Public Services Card (PSC) project is illegal.  The DPIA indicates the Department of Social Protection has built a national biometric database of 3.2 million cardholders’ unique facial features since 2013, including, in some cases, those of children. It also indicates that the Department is intent on retaining each cardholder’s biometric data for their individual lifetime, plus 10 years. Olga Cronin, Surveillance and Human Rights Policy Officer, ICCL, says: “The Department has been building a national biometric database without a relevant legal basis and without transparency. It continues to collect people’s biometric information in exchange for services they are legally entitled to. This must stop. This processing is unnecessary, disproportionate, and presents a risk to people’s fundamental rights.More info at https://www.iccl.ie/news/psc-facial-recognition-software-dpia/

l ICCL has welcomed the 14th June plenary vote in the European Parliament on the EU’s draft Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act. The vote establishes the Parliament’s position on the Act ahead of negotiations with the Council of the EU and the European Commission. The Parliament’s text includes a complete ban on the use of real-time facial recognition technology (FRT) in public spaces and represents a significant blow to the Irish Government’s plans to introduce FRT for An Garda Síochána.

ICCL on Offences Against the State Acts Review Group

ICCL has called for immediate implementation of key recommendations of the Offences Against the State Acts Review Group which recommends its repeal. https://www.iccl.ie/news/minister-must-implement-review-groups-recommendation-and-repeal-the-offences-against-the-state-acts/

Síolta Chroí: Ecosystem restoration for community groups

Upcoming courses at Co Monaghan centre Síolta Chroí include one, 26th-27th August, on Ecosystem restoration for community groups, looking at how groups that have access to, or look after, pieces of land can create systems that sequester carbon, build biodiversity and restore the ecosystem. Full info at https://sioltachroi.ie/courses-and-events/

Russia: COs movement declared ‘foreign agent’

On 23rd June the Movement of Conscientious Objectors was officially labeled as a “foreign agent” in the Russian Federation. They state, “This action, while a demonstration of the effectiveness of our work, is fundamentally a discriminatory application of law that contradicts universally accepted human rights and freedoms.…… A significant number of our volunteers and coordinators are based in Russia, and they now face a heightened risk of state pressure and persecution. Despite these increased threats, we remain committed to supporting those who resist war and forced conscription.” See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2023/another-blatant-human-rights-violation-russia-labelling-movement-conscientious-objectors

Global Women for Peace United Against NATO

A new international women’s movement has been formed and has produced a Declaration for Peace, outlining its message of peace, justice, solidarity, and common security. As part of the international protests, they are organising a programme of events in Brussels, home of the NATO headquarters, taking place from 6th to 9th July (there will be a NATO summit in Vilnius, 11th-12th July). Join in person or online. http://womenagainstnato.org/

News, June 2023

Irish security policy Forum: Participation and protests

The detailed information on the Irish Government/Department of Foreign Affairs Forum on International Security Policy was – eventually – published on 31st May, just three weeks or so before the first Forum meets in Cork. Details are at www.gov.ie/consultativeforum The programme is regimented and filled with what the government wants (and who they want speaking), so it is extremely debatable what space pro-peace and neutrality groups will have though most are likely to grab what they can so the debate does not go by default. The public can send in written submissions but the online consultation form is prescriptive with stated questions and a maximum input of 500 words on any of them – but please use it and attend where possible (booking is necessary via the site above).

The intention behind Micheál Martin’s plans for the Forum is to provide a reason to remove the ‘triple lock’ on deployment of Irish troops abroad in the autumn, and the chair of the Forum was obviously chosen to adhere to, and advance, the Government’s plans through an illusion of consultation. Peace and neutrality groups rightly view the whole exercise as a sham but also a struggle against the removal of the last vestiges of Irish neutrality.

The official Forum meets in Cork – University College Cork on 22nd June: Galway – University of Galway, 23rd June: and Dublin – Dublin Castle, 26th and 27th June. In all cases registration is from 8.15am and sessions start at 9am, with the concluding session of the day starting at 5pm or 5.15pm. The full programme and booking info is in the link above. As there is a fairly early start, protests outside the venues are likely to begin from 8am and those who can are encouraged to attend. Here are details of alternative “People’s Forum” events:

Cork: The Cork Neutrality League (CNL) will jointly host the People’s Forum on Ireland’s Neutrality at 8pm on Tuesday 20th June at the Imperial Hotel, Cork. Bernadette McAliskey will address the gathering by Zoom, and other confirmed speakers include Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Dr Karen Devine and Councillor Ted Tynan. A protest will be held at the government forum at University College Cork on Thursday 22nd June at 8am. The Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, will address the forum at 9am. CNL state “This is a pivotal moment in the campaign to defend neutrality and resist the increasing militarisation of Ireland and Europe”. Email corkneutralityleague@gmail.com or visit Facebook www.facebook.com/CorkLeague

Galway: With details finalised, the original hotel booking by Galway Alliance Against War/GAAW was cancelled after threats were made to the hotel which felt it had no choice but to cancel the booking to protect guests and themselves. It was scheduled for 8pm on Thursday 22nd June, the eve of the Government Forum meeting and the line up of speakers for the event was Clare Daly MEP, Mick Wallace MEP, Catherine Connolly TD (Leas-Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil), Mairéad Farrell TD, Dr Karen Devine (academic and expert on Irish Neutrality), and George Galloway. Check out locally for alternative venue and time confirmation or see https://www.facebook.com/groups/312442090965 and contact galwayallianceagainstwar@gmail.com

Dublin: The People’s Forum will be at Liberty Hall on Monday 19th June at 6.30pm; speakers are Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Senator Frances Black, Catherine Connolly TD, Karen Devine, Cllr Daithí Doolan, Carol Fox and Thomas Pringle TD, with Bernadette McAliskey via Zoom. The event is sponsored by a wide variety of neutrality and peace groups including Afri, PANA, Irish Anti-War Movement/IAWM, World Beyond War, StoP, and a number of others.

Limerick: The People’s Forum meeting is on Saturday 17th June from 3pm – 5pm at Halla Ída, Conradh na Gaeilge, 18 Thomas Street, Limerick; speakers will be Ruairí Fahy, Senator Paul Gavan, Edward Horgan, Margaretta D’Arcy and John Lannon with Laura Wilkins in the chair.

lINNATE’s submission to the Forum will be published in the next issue of Nonviolent News.

PANA poll shows 87% support for Ukraine ceasefire

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) commissioned Ipsos Omnipoll to conduct a survey of Irish views on a ceasefire in Ukraine. The results showed a remarkable 87% of people in Ireland (Republic) support a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations in the Ukraine war. The question asked was: ” Are you in favour or not in favour of a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to end the war?” The response was: In Favour 87%, Not in Favour 8%, Don’t Know/No Opinion 5%. 1000 interviews were conducted by telephone among a nationally representative sample of individuals aged 15+. Roger Cole, PANA chair, stated “All political parties and the media must now seriously consider the opinion of the vast majority of the Irish people. In the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that brought the war in Ireland to an end through a process of a ceasefire and negotiations, should we not retain this same philosophy in the horrific war now raging in the Ukraine.”. The PANA press release stated “This is a massive endorsement of PANA’s position taken at the very start of the war.” www.pana.ie and also https://www.pana.ie/posts/neutrality-nato-and-the-attack-on-irelands-triple-lock

Mediation NI: Course and setting a course in strategic plan

The next open access course ‘Mediation Theory and Practice’ from MNI/Mediation Northern Ireland begins in Belfast on 5th October and runs all day on Thursdays for 8 weeks; it is an introductory course introducing participants to a mediation process for use in two-party disputes and constructive relationship building. More details at https://mediationni.org/training/ Meanwhile MNI launched an ambitious three year strategic plan a while back, including increasing the number of those working for MNI and the services offered; more info can be found at https://mediationni.org/articles/

CAJ: The chill factor in Northern Ireland

The term ‘a cold house for…..’ is well known in the North. An issue of the CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice newsletter Just News takes a look at what that can mean for activists and academics, see https://caj.org.uk/publications/our-newsletter/just-news-april-2023/ You can check out a huge amount of information, briefings and publications, and their programme areas, on their website at https://caj.org.uk/

CGE: Development Education and Democracy

The latest issue of the Centre for Global Education’s journal, Policy and Practice, is on Development Education and Democracy; this is available on their website at https://www.developmenteducationreview.com/ Meanwhile CGE has published a new three year strategic plan which is available on their website at https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/publications-free

VSI: Global issues, volunteer opportunities

Each month, on the last Tuesday of the month, VSI/Voluntary Service International host a short online workshop on a relevant global issue, related to social justice and sustainability. If you would like to receive notice about these, get in touch. info@vsi.ie Meanwhile there are two European Solidarity Corps 1-year volunteer opportunities for 18-20 year olds to be part of the VSI team in the Dublin office working on Programmes, Marketing and Communication; see https://www.vsi.ie/latest/join-the-vsi-office-team-as-a-european-solidarity-corps-volu/ (closing date 3rd July).

Track III Actions – Transforming conflicts from bottom-up

Recently launched in Belfast and Dublin, this book “Track III Actions – Transforming protracted political conflicts from the bottom-up”, is edited by Helena Desivilya Syna and Geoffrey Corry, published by De Gruyter, 264 pages, and looks at detailed case studies in Northern Ireland and Israel. For those who are not on track with ‘tracks’, Track III is outlined as “bottom-up interventions designed to transform protracted political conflict into constructive encounters among individuals and groups in deeply divided societies.” It is not possible to mention all the content but it includes a piece by the late Brendan McAllister about mediation and the Drumcree dispute in Portadown, and both Northern Irish and Israeli parts give valuable accounts of work being done, often in difficult or extenuating circumstances. More info at https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110698374/html Unfortunately the book is priced at ‘academic rates’ (£90),.

ICCL welcomes EU Parliament vote on AI, issues GDPR report

ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties has welcomed an 11th May vote in the EU Parliament on the EU’s draft Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act. ICCL states “The vote is a significant step towards finalising the Parliament’s position on the Act and represents a blow to the Irish Government’s plans to introduce facial recognition technology (FRT) for An Garda Síochána.” Dr Kris Shrishak, Senior Fellow, ICCL said: “The EU’s AI Act could become a global standard for regulation of AI systems. The stakes simply couldn’t be higher for people’s fundamental rights. Today’s vote is the result of extensive negotiations and compromises and sends a clear message that the Parliament feels AI should be strictly regulated to protect EU citizens’ rights. The Parliament has fixed many loopholes and has brought AI systems like ChatGPT within scope. But there are still many concerns……” More background at https://www.iccl.ie/news/iccl-recommendations-in-important-european-parliament-text-on-the-ai-act/

lMeanwhile ICCL’s 2023 report on GDPR shows 67% of the Irish Data Protection Commission’s GDPR investigation decisions in EU cases were overruled by majority vote of its European counterparts at the EDPB, who demand tougher enforcement action. See https://www.iccl.ie/digital-data/iccl-2023-gdpr-report/

FOE supporters’ views on energy poverty

The results of a very interesting survey of Irish Friends of the Earth supporters’ views on energy poverty issues can be found at https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/news/energy-poverty-survey-the-results-are-out/ What is wanted includes: Costs of retrofitting brought down and made more accessible; Retrofitting and heat pump supports targeted at those most in-need; Companies who have made record profits as a result of the energy crisis paying for retrofitting and renewable heating via Windfall Tax revenue; Targeted Government responses to the energy crisis instead of broad, universal energy credits.

Church and Peace on nuclear weapons, Ukraine

Church and Peace, the European ecumenical church peace network, at its recent meeting in Frankfurt, noted with disappointment that the G7 summit in Hiroshima had missed the opportunity to take a decisive stand for nuclear disarmament at that historic site. Earlier, Church and Peace, together with other supporters of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), had sent an open letter to Chancellor Scholz calling for the G7 summit to be the starting point for new nuclear disarmament negotiations, including the demand to end all nuclear bases on the territory of other states. In a statement Church and Peace went on to say “The current plans for stationing Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus show how urgent such an initiative would be. Moreover, the decision of the G7 summit to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine has increased the danger of a further escalation to the point of using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.” www.church-and-peace.org

News, March 2023

Make a start on building a peaceful future with StoP

StoP, Swords to Ploughshares, is an all-island network working to oppose the arms trade and militarisation in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. It meets remotely every six weeks or so and therefore anyone can join in. It also organises seminars and demonstrations, with some events online including webinars on EU militarisation and Irish neutrality https://youtu.be/mqniPJg70xU and on human and ecological security https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpcK1QYLk6M Both individuals and groups can be involved. StoP is currently looking for a volunteer coordinator as this rotates; in terms of work there is probably the equivalent of under a day a month. Please contact StoP at stoploughshares@gmail.com if you are interested in being informed about StoP meetings and events or if you might be interested in the role of volunteer coordinator. More information about StoP can be found at: https://www.swordstoploughshares-ireland.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SToPIreland/

CAJ: Retirement of Brian Gormally, misogyny, housing

A new director will be announced soon for CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice following the imminent retirement of Brian Gormally who has been in post for over a decade. Meanwhile CAJ’s newsletter, Just News, can be read online and the February issue includes coverage of an Equality Coalition seminar on the Scottish model for preventing misogynist crime where an official report recommends a stand alone act on the issues. Also included is a report on paramilitary housing intimidation which can be sectarian and/or racist. See https://caj.org.uk/publications/our-newsletter/just-news-february-2023/ CAJ’s annual report for 2022 is available at https://caj.org.uk/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-2022/

Glebe House volunteer workcamp, 29th May to 8th June

Glebe House is a peacebuilding focused residential and day activity centre, owned by Harmony Community Trust, in the Strangford area. Glebe House has been active for nearly 50 years and opportunities for young people and adults are provided to be part of a truly Shared Space. Working with Voluntary Service International, applications are invited for volunteers for a fun but busy workcamp. The ten-day opportunity will attract volunteers from across Ireland, the UK and further afield to come to work together to support HCT in preparing its beautiful 16 acre site for the busy summer ahead and around its Fun Day which will be held in the middle of the workcamp. Applications are welcome from all, but some people with disabilities may find being a full part of the camp challenging due to the work to be done, but Glebe House is open to seeing how that may be accommodated. Applications only through the SCI website https://www.workcamps.sci.ngo/icamps/camp-details/15579.html. Further information can be obtained from Andrew McCracken, Director at Glebe House email director@glebehouseni.com to arrange a call or zoom.

Organic Centre Rossinver

The Organic Centre nestled in the heart of rural Rossinver, Leitrim looks forward to 2023 with the hope of brighter days ahead. As an educational charity, it specialises in promoting all things organic, sustainable living and biodiversity. The Organic Centre was founded in 1995 by local organic growers, and farmers. Developed on a 19-acre green field site at the foot of limestone hills beside Lough Melvin, it became a pioneering organisation, at the forefront of organic growing, and action for climate change. From the beginning there were 6 weekend courses which took place in 1997. Now, the centre looks forward to almost 100 courses ranging from growing to recycling workshops, stone wall building, cheese making, cob oven building and more.

The calendar year hosts more than 6 free events including Biodiversity Day, and Apple Day. And coming soon is the well-loved Potato Day, a free family friendly event, on Sunday 5th March from 12-4pm, a great place to buy your potato seeds, with demonstrations, tours, and an onsite craft and food market. The Centre is delighted to launch its new seed collection, one of the biggest suppliers of organic seeds and one of the most diverse range nationally. Visit https://www.theorganiccentre.ie/page/whats-on-5 for more information on Potato Day.

The centre also hosts a one-year, full time fully funded course in organic horticulture, an opportunity to learn and be part of a movement, as policy makers nationally and internationally now begin to recognise the importance of organic agriculture for planet and health. The MSLETB Level 5 in Organic Horticulture closes for applications soon. Click on https://msletb.ie/further-education-and-training-fet/search-courses/?sfcw-courseId=361215 to find out more and register. Organise a tour of the centre as an away day with your work, school or family. Just ring 0719854338.  You can for a walk on the new Fowleys Falls trail that now links up with the Organic Centre, a perfect day out. The Grass Roof Cafe with vegetarian and vegan menu, open every weekend is being run by inspiring young chef, Thien Laitenberger.

Check out the Organic Centre’s website and social media channels for more information on courses, events, and the onsite and online shop including Zero Waste and Craft sections. https://www.theorganiccentre.ie/

Reflections after the first St Brigid’s Day holiday: Afri Féile Bríde

The first annual bank holiday celebrating an Irish women, Brigid, took place on 6th March in the Republic and a couple of days earlier was Afri’s 30th Féile Bríde. Afri is working to ensure that aspects of Brigid’s life such as peacemaking and caring for the planet are not ironed out of the picture. https://www.afri.ie/category/reflections-from-feile-bride2023/#more-79759 gives a short resume of the Afri approach and a link to an 11-minute video of the programme at the Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare; this includes an appreciation of Brigid by Adi Roche. Meanwhile a short report and clip on St Brigid’s visit to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on her feast day, calling for peacemaking action by the Irish government, can be seen at https://www.afri.ie/category/brigid-calls-for-peace-on-st-brigids-day/

Corrymeela: Horizons Volunteer Programme

The Corrymeela Horizons Volunteer Programme is an opportunity to spend a year living at the Ballycastle Centre welcoming groups, providing hospitality and delivering programmes for groups from different backgrounds, enabling them to explore how to live well together. During the year, Corrymeela provides support and training to enable the Horizon volunteers to develop their skills in working with a wide range groups. Former volunteers say that their experience was personally life enriching for them, whilst also benefiting them in their future lives and careers. Further details at https://www.corrymeela.org/volunteer and the closing date is 10th March.

There is much more information on the Corrymeela website about forthcoming events, the ongoing programmes, news, resources, and full information about the meeting facilities available at the Ballycastle Centre. https://www.corrymeela.org/

British Royal Navy supply ship visits Belfast prior to H&W building

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Tidesurge visited Belfast in mid-February as part of preparation for 3 new massive support ships being constructed at Harland and Wolff in the period 2025-2032. The role played by such ships in the British war machine was detailed by the captain of RFA Tidesurge, Karl Woodfield, in saying “We are part of the carrier strike group which enables the Royal Navy to deploy worldwide without any host nation support. It gives the Royal Navy its global reach.” https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/royal-fleet-auxiliary-ship-visits-belfast-ahead-of-support-vessels-contract-work/1924180595.html

ICCL on policing oversight, and on hate crime bill
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has written to the Oireachtas Justice Committee urging them to ensure that new proposals for improved Garda oversight are strengthened. The Policing Security and Community Safety Bill includes the establishment of a Police Ombudsman to replace the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), as well as an expanded Policing and Community Safety Authority, and a new Independent Examiner of Security Legislation.  ICCL said that new Garda oversight bodies must have the powers and independence to ensure Gardaí operate within the law and with respect for human rights. They have raised a number of issues including exceptions which they consider too broad, and have pushed for the new Police Ombudsman to have the right to search garda stations.

ICCL also said the Commission on the Future of Policing could not have been clearer regarding the need to take prosecution powers away from Gardaí. Independent prosecutors should take cases. ICCL also raised the need for An Garda Síochána to start collecting and publishing data on its interactions with different minority groups, such as migrants and the Traveller community.  Read ICCL's briefing to the Oireachtas Justice Committee at https://www.iccl.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/230216-ICCL-Briefing-on-Policing-Security-and-Community-Safety-Bill-2023.pdf

l The Hate Crime Coalition, of which ICCL is a prominent part, has also welcomed the progress of the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence of Hatred and Hate Offences Bill) 2022. However ICCL Policy Officer and Chair of the Coalition, Luna Lara Liboni, has said ““If the legislation is to be effective, it is essential that it is properly implemented and reviewed. We are calling for a comprehensive review of the legislation within five years involving all relevant stakeholders, including impacted communities, civil society and criminal justice actors.” www.iccl.ie/

De Borda on beyond Brexit binary binds

A short paper, written by Peter Emerson, on “If but Brexit hadn’t been binary” is available on the de Borda Institute website http://www.deborda.org/home/2023/2/13/2023-5-if.html This looks at the mistakes made and how the issue could be reviewed using a multi-option ballot. There are many other resources on the same website.

FOE: Solar panels for schools

Thanks to work by schools and campaigning by Friends of the Earth, bureaucratic barriers to install solar panels on schools have been removed (in the Republic). Not only that, but the Government has now promised to provide funding for solar panels on every school. A short cartoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdWsgSuMwao is available from FOE and it provides info and urges people to contact the Minister for Education to ensure the promise is met promptly. https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/

l It’s International Global Climate Strike Day on 3rd March, word search for details.

Disruptive Women arpilleras exhibition

From now until 5th August there is an exibition of arpilleras on the topic of Disruptive Women, spread across three venues – the Ulster Museum (Belfast), Flowerfield Arts Centre (Portstewart) and Ulster University Magee Campus Library (Derry). The arpilleras are from Conflict Textiles and Fundació Atenau Sant Roc, looking at women who have broken the mould, challenging violence and human rights abuses and working for justice and fairness. There will be associated events in the different locations. https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/conflicttextiles/

News, February 2023

Shannon: Horgan and Dowling acquitted of criminal damage

After a ten day trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, Edward Horgan and Dan Dowling were found not guilty of criminal damage for a nonviolent action at Shannon Airport almost six years previously. On 25th April 2017, the two peace activists were arrested at Shannon Airport and charged with causing criminal damage by writing graffiti on a US Navy aircraft. They were also charged with trespassing on the curtilage of Shannon Airport. The words “Danger Danger Do Not Fly” were written with a red marker on the engine of the warplane. It was one of two US Navy aircraft that had arrived at Shannon from from Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia. They subsequently flew on to a US air base in the Persian Gulf having spent two nights at Shannon.

The jury of eight men and four women accepted their arguments that they acted with lawful excuse. Judge Martina Baxter gave the defendants the benefit of the Probation Act on the charge of Trespass for which they were found guilty, on condition that they agree to be Bound to the Peace for 12 months and make a significant donation (€5,000 each) to a women’s refuge in Co Clare.. Both peace activists said they had no problem being “bound to the peace” and making the financial contribution (donations to charity are often used in Irish courts instead of a formal fine).

Perhaps the most important piece of evidence presented in the case was a 34 page folder containing the names of about 1,000 children who have died in the Middle East. This had been carried into the airport by Edward Horgan as evidence of why they had entered. It was part of a project called Naming the Children which Edward and other peace activists were undertaking in order to document and list as many as possible of the up to one million children who had died as a result of US and NATO led wars in the Middle East since the first Gulf War in 1991. It was pointed out that at least 38 prosecutions of peace activists had taken place since 2001 in relation to Shannon while no prosecutions or proper investigations had taken place for breaches of Irish legislation by the US military and Irish authorities.

Meanwhile US war planes continue to refuel and stopover at Shannon. A Shannonwatch spokesperson said “Over three million armed US troops have transited through Shannon Airport since 2001 on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East. This is in violation of Irish neutrality and international laws on neutrality.” As Shannonwatch states, “The military misuse of Shannon continues.” More details at http://www.shannonwatch.org/

20th anniversary celebration of Pitstop Ploughshares

On Friday 3rd February at 6.30pm in the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin, there is a celebration of 20 years since Pitstop Plougshares disaarmed a U.S. War Plane at Shannon en route to the invasion of Iraq. It starts with a showing of ‘Route Irish’, then speakers at 8pm, and music from Joe Black & the Roj Light at 9pm. More info: phone or text Ciaron at 083 416 2590. Free entry and there will be a bar.

Afri Féile Bríde; Darkness, Dawning, Light

The 30th Féile Bríde will be on Saturday 4th February when those speaking/performing will include Adi Roche, Emer Lynam, Adi Roche, Tommy Sands, Justine Nantal, and Luka Bloom. As usual/normal it will take place in the Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare town. Full details and booking information are on the Afri website at www.afri.ie The event will begin at 10.00 am with a Ceremony of Light in the Square in Kildare, and then registration at 11 am.

Social Change Initiative on tackling hate and extremism

Material from the Social Change Initiative in Belfast on tackling the far right appears on their website at https://www.socialchangeinitiative.com/extremism including material from Britain, Ireland and Greece.

CAJ: NIO ‘gaslighting’ victims

CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and academic colleagues have strongly criticised claims by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) that the latest amendments to the UK’s legacy bill address some of the ‘principal concerns’ about the legislation. About the amendments, Daniel Holder of CAJ said “Some are just window dressing and others would actually make the bill worse. “ See https://caj.org.uk/latest/nio-gaslighting-victims-with-claims-legacy-bill-amendments-address-their-concerns/ and other items on the CAJ website.

ICCL: GDPR, Garda surveillance

ICCL has previously criticised the lack of GDPR enforcement against Big Tech, and the European Commission’s failure to monitor how the GDPR is applied since it became enforceable in 2018. The European Commission has now committed to examining every large-scale GDPR case, everywhere in Europe. It will measure how long each procedural step in a case is taking, and what the relevant data protection authorities are doing to progress the case. The Commission will do this six times per year.

ICCL is deeply concerned about some elements of the proposed Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022 and how the Bill’s passage through the Oireachtas is being managed. The Bill is part of a wider programme of reform of An Garda Síochána, which ICCL welcomes and supports. However, the Bill will also significantly expand the surveillance powers of An Garda Síochána, including covert surveillance, and ICCL is concerned that these changes are not subject to sufficient scrutiny because the Bill is being rushed through the Oireachtas. https://www.iccl.ie/

Development education and the economic paradigm

The Centre for Global Education (CGE) and Irish Development Education Association have organised an online seminar to debate the content of Issue 35 of Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review which is on the theme “Development Education and the Economic Paradigm”. The speakers are: Celina del Felice (Chair); Harm-Jan Fricke; Anders Daniel Faksvåg Haugen; and Irene Tollefsen. Tuesday, 14 February 2023 from 12.00 – 1.30pm. To register visit: https://www.ideaonline.ie/development-education-and-the-economic-paradigm CGE is at https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/

Mediation: ‘S’ questions model

An MNI training with Gerry O’Sullivan on mediation questions takes place on 17th and 18th April (online, mornings) and 24th April (face-to-face, all day in MNI offices Belfast). The focus is on knowing how to formulate and ask incisive questions to get to the core of a conflict, challenge entrenched thinking, and shift perspective.. Fee £330, booking/further info at https://mediation-northern-ireland.idloom.events/GOS

Opposition to Coillte deal with Gresham House

There has been significant publicity in the Republic about – and opposition to – a proposed deal between Irish Foresty Board semi-state Coillte and investment firm Gresham House. Word search for details. The Woodland League, for example, states they “see it as a land and public funds grab to benefit overseas investors, using Coillte as a sub-contractor with no tangible benefits to the Irish People, Farmers, or Nature” and “In fact we see in the overall Coillte Forestry Strategy target to plant an area the size of Carlow, 250,000 acres by 2050, that it will lock us into a sitka spruce nightmare for another 100 years.” A petition on the current issue is available at https://www.saveourforests.ie/ and see also https://thewoodlandleagueforestinabox.ie/

Eco Congregation Ireland annual review

https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/2023/01/29/eci-annual-review-2022-now-available/ gives a short annual review of ECI’s work. ECI encourages churches of all denominations to take an eco approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

INNATE resources

A listing has been made of INNATE online resources available on both the main and photo/documentary sites, see https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/INNATE-online-listing-2023-for-web.pdf This includes a brief mention of archival material deposited with PRONI, the Public Record Office for NI.

lA paper by Geoffrey Corry on the evolution of Glencree is available at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Glencree-memories-1970s-G-Corry.pdf

Thales missile contract, H&W order confirmed

As well as news of a £223 million order to Thales in Belfast from the British Ministry of Defence for hand-held anti-tank weapons (NLAWS, see Nonviolent News Supplement to No.305, January), it was confirmed in mid-January that Harland and Wolff will be involved in the construction of three massive Royal Navy supply ships. https://www.harland-wolff.com/news/naval-shipbuilding-to-return-to-harland-wolff-belfast

Feasta: Wellbeing frameworks

Ireland, as elsewhere, has been developing a wellbeing framework that contains a dashboard of indicators on how Ireland is doing in many different areas, including health, education, employment and the environment. In Feasta and the EHFF’s Bridging the Gaps podcast, Seán Ó Conláin and Caroline Whyte speak with Margreet Frieling, the knowledge co-lead at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), about her experience in New Zealand. https://www.feasta.org/2023/01/31/bridging-the-gaps-2023-podcasts-on-ecology-health-well-being/

World Beyond War virtual film festival, 11-25 March

World Beyond War is showing A Force More Powerful, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, (on Liberia) and Beyond the Divide (on the division between army veterans and peace advocates). Watch the film in your own time, then join Saturday evening discussion (Irish time). Variable fees for tickets, full info at https://worldbeyondwar.org/filmfest2023/

Russia: No civilian alternative to conscription in mobilisation

No legal or practical provision exists for alternative civilian service (ACS) during mobilisation, despite the Russian Constitution guaranteeing this right for every citizen. This has led to military recruitment offices refusing applications for ACS and sending conscientious objectors to military units. Obviously this is also not an easy ‘way out’ for those called up but opposed to the war in Ukraine. See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2022/russia-no-legal-provision-alternative-civilian-service-during-mobilisation for details.

IFOR Council report

A short report on the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) Council meeting held in Juba, South Sudan, in November is available at https://www.ifor.org/news/2022/12/23/ifor-quadrennial-council-press-release-1 The Council was preceded by a public conference on “Armed Conflicts and Peaceful Transitions in Africa: Lessons from Southern Sudan and around the World”.

Death of Brendan McAllister

We very much regret to record the death of Brendan McAllister on 13th December last, after a short illness; he was inter alia first director of Mediation Northern Ireland, and former victims commissioner. He was a long time peace and reconciliation activist from Newry. See also https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/2022/12/14/brendan-mcallister/ and the Billy King column in email/web editions of this issue.

Nonviolent News supplement, January 2023

SUPPLEMENT to Number 305, Belfast 6th January 2023

Please note this is a short supplement with mainly time-limited or immediate information, not a full issue.

Louie Bennett memorial event, Dublin

On Saturday 7th January, at 2 pm, Afri will lay a bouquet of flowers at the bench in St Stephen’s Green commemorating Louie Bennett (1870-1956) . ‘As we emerge from the Decade of Commemorations,’ said Professor John Maguire of Afri, ‘it would be difficult to find any other person who so vividly embodies the complex strands of our heritage, or the challenges of creatively reworking that heritage in today’s fraught world.’ Louie Bennett had a long and distinguished record of activism, for women’s right to vote, in opposition to war and militrism, and for the rights and welfare of women workers (she was the first woman to be president of the ICTU, a position she held twice). As Afri mention in their announcement, the memorial bench in St Stephen’s Green is curved, reflecting her belief in encouraging conversation. www.afri.ie

Afri Féile Bríde; Darkness Dawning Light

The 30th Féile Bríde will be on Saturday 4th February when those speaking/performing will include Emer Lynam, Adi Roche, Tommy Sands, Justine Nantal, and Luka Bloom. As usual/normal it will take place in the Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare town. Full details and booking information soon on the Afri website at www.afri.ie The event will begin at 10.30am with a Ceremony of Light in the Square in Kildare.

Belfast Military-Industrial complex thrives

Thales in Casttlereagh, Belfast has been given a £223 million contract from the British Ministory of Defence for hand-held anti-tank missiles. Thales will assemble these ‘next generation light anti-tank weapons’ (NLAWS) for Saab. Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris expressed his delight at the news and the managing director of Thales in Belfast, Philip McBride said ““Once again, Northern Ireland is demonstrating its significant role in the UK defence enterprise.” Thales employs around 600 people. More details at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-64057780 and https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/belfast-weapons-factory-receives-contract-to-produce-anti-tank-missiles-42235861.html

FOE-NI address change

Friends of the Earth in Northern Ireland has moved to a new office; Gordon House, 22-24 Lombard Street, Belfast, BT1 1RD. Otherwise their details remain the same. https://friendsoftheearth.uk/northern-ireland

Tools for Solidarity

Tools For Solidarity is a not-for-profit organisation based in Belfast and the main focus is to support artisans in the poorest parts of the world and mostly in the countries of Africa. This act of solidarity enables them to become more self-reliant and have some hope for the future. You can read up on TfS work and history at https://www.toolsforsolidarity.com/ including their latest, informative, newsletter at https://www.toolsforsolidarity.com/publications/newsletters/

AVP/Alternatives to Violence Project: Annual report, coordinator

AVP have issued their annual report for 2022. 36 prison based volunteers and 22 community based volunteers were involved in the running of 41 workshops in all Irish Prisons except Cloverhill and Arbour Hill. Around 60 courses were assessed and completed this year in Cloverhill and Mountjoy prisons. AVP trained 32 new facilitators (22 prison based and 10 community based volunteers). 22 new community volunteers have taken part in some training and most of them are very close to completing it. Innovations in the year included a 3rd level ‘Female Awareness’ workshop which was piloted twice in the Dóchas. AVP expects to be able to offer up to 500 participations in our training across Irish prisons in 2023, apart from other programme.

The coordinator left her position at the end of the year and AVP is recruiting a new coordinator. The ad for the position will be in LinkedIn and Activelink. In leaving she said “I am extremely grateful to AVPers for the privilege of having worked with you all, these 7 past years, thank you for the meaningful work, the learnings, the laughs, the connections, the deep conversations, the friendship, care and love! May our AVP community keep learning, connecting and growing! Democratic Dorothée”. See also https://avpireland.ie/

Eco Congregation Newsletter

There are 19 pages of news from around the country’s churches in relation to their ecological involvement and other information in the Advent issue of the Eco Congregation Newsletter which can be opened at their website https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

The next, full, issue of Nonviolent News is for February with a deadline of 1st February