Tag Archives: Peace news

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

News, December 2022

A force for good?

A force for good? Reflections on neutrality and the future of Irish defence” is a new 62 page pamphlet from Afri, launched in Leinster House at the end of November. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Irish foreign policy and contribution towards peace in the world. The contributions include a preface by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire (who also writes another piece on ‘The true cost of violence and war’). The pamphlet’s substantial input includes a detailed account by Karen Devine of Frank Aiken’s legacy and lessons for the conflict in Ukraine. John Maguire contributes an open letter to Lt-General Seán Clancy, Irish Chief of Staff, Tarak Kauff surveys Irish neutrality as a global force for peace, Iain Atack and Carol Fox consider some other important details of the situation, before John Maguire considers the woolly thinking behind the Commission on the Defence Forces report. The pamphlet ends with the Downpatrick Declaration.

This pamphlet clearly analyses the Irish government’s drift to NATO membership and EU militarisation while reflecting on positive policies for peace in the past (Frank Aiken) and considering how Ireland could play a meaningful role in European and world peace in the future. Paper copies are available from Afri at €10 including postage at https://www.afri.ie/donate/ It will be on the Afri website in due course. Afri , 8 Cabra Road, Dublin D07 T1W2, email admin@afri.ie and website www.afri.ie

Palestine: New Irish Anti-Apartheid Campaign launched

The Irish Anti-Apartheid Campaign for Palestine has called on Ireland and the international community to publicly recognise that the State of Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and to take concrete measures to end this crime against humanity. The coalition, made up of 18 civil society organisations, trade unions and academic experts committed to working collaboratively to end Israeli apartheid against Palestinians, was launched in late November in Dublin by Independent Senator Frances Black, a long-time campaigner for Palestinian rights. Groups involved are: Academics for Palestine, Action Aid Ireland, Afri, Amnesty International Ireland, Centre for Global Education, Comhlámh/Comhlámh Justice for Palestine, Gaza Action Ireland, Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Jews for Palestine, Kairos Ireland, Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance, SIPTU, TCD BDS,Trade Union Friends of Palestine, and Trócaire. See https://www.trocaire.org/news/new-irish-anti-apartheid-campaign-calls-on-ireland-to-take-action-on-israeli-apartheid-against-palestinians/ and web search.

The Steel Shutter revisited: Northern Ireland encounter, 1972

A Belfast conference on 1st December 2022 looked at the encounter group workshop of precisely fifty years previously involving four Belfast Protestants and four Belfast Catholics (including facilitation by ‘the’ Carl Rogers). The 2022 conference was organised by Michael Montgomery of PeaceFire www.peacefire.us and the original one hour ‘Steel Shutter’ film is available on this website. The conference examined numerous aspects of encounter groups and storytelling and their ongoing relevance for conflict situations and divided societies. See also https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/52536717565/in/dateposted/

H&W militarise again

There was a time that Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast made British naval ships, possibly the last was HMS Fearless which was completed in 1965. Unfortunately it looks like H&W may be returning to this practice of making ships for the Royal Navy. While it is not a done deal yet, an announcement in mid-November indicated that 3 new British navy supply ships, each 216 metres long, in a £1.6 billion contract may see the final assembly taking place at Harland and Wolff which forms part of a preferred bid by a consortium of three UK firms. If proceeding work may begin in 2025 and of course there will be many jobs created but jobs contributing to ongoing militarisation. Word search online for more information.

Protests in Cork at Dutch navy visit

At the end of November, protests were held by the Irish Neutrality Campaign at visits to Cork by 4 warships from NATO member the Netherlands (including their largest naval ship). See https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/arid-41015759.html and https://tripeanddrisheen.substack.com/p/four-dutch-naval-vessels-dock-in Protesters pointed out that the Netherlands has supported NATO belligerance and the visit was a breach of Irish neutrality. In addition, PANA, www.pana.ie, pointed out that “The recent Fine Gael Ard-Fheis passed a motion effectively to scrap the Triple Lock on sending Irish soldiers on overseas missions, by eliminating the need for a UN mandate for such missions. Rather than equip our forces appropriately for genuine defence and UN-directed peacekeeping, our government seems intent on merging them with EU/NATO ventures such as PESCO, Battlegroups etc.”

Swords to Ploughshares: Human and ecological security

The hour long recording of the StoP/Swords to Ploughshares webinar in early November on “Human and ecological security: an alternative to war and militarism” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpcK1QYLk6M Speakers were Diana Francis, John Maguire and John Lannon.

Ukraine war used to justify arms race

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, western governments pledged unprecedented financial support to militarism, citing the threat posed by the war as justification. However, as the research in the report below shows, western states are already vastly superior in terms of military expenditure and defence capacity to other nations. Prior to the war the combined military spending of NATO members was 17 times that of Russia and four times that of China. Increased military spending does nothing, quite the reverse, to deal with issues of world poverty and global warming. This report by he Transnational Institute and Stop Wapenhandel, “Smoke Screen – How states are using the war in Ukraine to drive a new arms race” , is available in summary form and download link at https://www.tni.org/en/publication/smoke-screen

Afri calendars

Having a meaningful calendar around your home or work space may give you a daily lift – and a reminder of appointments. Afri produce a calendar which highlights the importance of all of us getting involved in tackling such pressing issues as climate change and militarisation. To order (at €7 per calendar plus €2.50 postage cost within Ireland) go to www.afri.ie/donate/ and click the donate button at the bottom of the page ‘donating’ the cost of your purchase and indicating the number of calendars you would like to order in the message box; remember to include your postal address. Email admin@afri.ie

WRI Prisoners for Peace

1st December and the period around then is when the War Resisters’ International particularly remembers conscientious objectors and prisoners for peace (their work to support them is all year around however). This year it has a particular focus on Russia and Ukraine – not surprisingly given the numbers imprisoned or facing imprisonment there. See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2022/2022-prisoners-peace-day and links there.

USA military empire database

World Beyond War have put together an interactive database of USA military bases worldwide. As they say “Some of these physical installations are on land occupied as spoils of war. Most are maintained through collaborations with governments, many of them brutal and oppressive governments benefiting from the bases’ presence. In many cases, human beings were displaced to make room for these military installations, often depriving people of farmland, adding huge amounts of pollution to local water systems and the air, and existing as an unwelcome presence.” See https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/

CGE: Why are INGOs not talking about the global economy?

Material from the Centre for Global Education’s October workshop on why Irish NGOs are not critically engaging with issues of the global economic system, neoliberalism, as the ‘root cause’ of poverty is available at https://oneworldfestivalni.com/events/why-are-ingos-not-talking-about-the-global-economy/

2022 Pax Christi International Peace Award: Concordia

Concordia Social Projects has received the PCI 2022 peace award. The organization is present in several central and eastern European countries, and works directly to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families. See https://paxchristi.net/2022/11/08/2022-pax-christi-international-peace-award-concordia-social-projects/

Chernobyl Children International

Chernobyl Children International/CCI are appealing at this time of year for financial support for their work in Ukraine and Belarus. For full information, and options to donate, see https://www.chernobyl-international.com

Cyber safety for women

Women – and men – may be interested in this very detailed cyber security guide https://www.wizcase.com/blog/comprehensive-online-security-guide-for-women/

Nonviolent News 302, News

ICCL: UN Human Rights review on Ireland

ICCL brought its human rights concerns to the UN during its review of Ireland’s human rights record. with a comprehensive submission to the UN Human Rights Committee that was endorsed by 37 other Irish organisations and reflected in the Committee conclusions. https://www.iccl.ie/report/new-report-on-civil-and-political-rights-in-ireland/ and Committee’s conclusions at https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRL/CCPR_C_IRL_CO_5_49292_E.pdf

CAJ on the Bill of Rights Bill

CAJ/The Committee on the Administration of Justice has an 8 page briefing paper on the UK Bill of Rights Bill available on their website, written by Prof Rory O’Connell. CAJ say “The Bill of Rights Bill which will reform UK law relating to human rights, contains some provisions that are theatrical and legally meaningless, but it also contains provisions that will harm the protection of human rights. One of the more harmful provisions is Clause 5 on positive obligations. The proposed changes could increase legal uncertainty, affect those seeking an independent effective investigation into the deaths of family members, and risk denying protection to (among others) victims of crime, domestic violence, child neglect, child abuse, and human trafficking.” See https://caj.org.uk/2022/07/15/briefing-note-positive-obligations-and-the-bill-of-rights-bill/ (and lots of other useful submissions and papers on their website too).

Poetry for Peace

Smashing Times are currently running a call for submission of anti-war, pro-peace poems; these can be submitted in written or video form and will be displayed as part of an online exhibition on culture night. https://smashingtimes.ie/anti-war-poetry-collection/ gives further information and also contains the submission link. The deadline for submissions is Friday 9th September so there is still time to write…..

AVP news: Male/Female awareness

The Alternatives to Violence Project, having run a 3rd level ‘Male Awareness’ course in men’s prisons for several years has now piloted the first ever ‘Female Awareness’ workshop in AVP history. The male awareness workshop shines a light on very deep beliefs around masculinity and gives an opportunity to participants to choose who they truly want to be, beyond the social construct of gender; women did not have the opportunity for a similar experience so an Irish AVP team developed an empowering workshop for women. There is an eagerness to run the workshop again and further improve it. Meanwhile AVP is recruiting volunteers but only for the Limerick/Cork and Castlerea areas. https://avpireland.ie/

Catholic Nonviolent Days of Action

2022 is the third year of the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action, celebrated between 21 September (International Day of Peace) and 2 October (International Day of Nonviolence). The theme for 2022 is: “Blessed is every step toward nonviolence.” Individuals, parish groups, Pax Christi sections, and religious communities are all encouraged to plan one or more actions between 21 September and 2 October that strengthen the Catholic Church’s understanding of nonviolence as an essential aspect of faith and Pax Christi asks everyone to join them on 2 October to celebrate International Day of Nonviolence with the Vow of Nonviolence. Visit https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/2022/08/11/catholic-nonviolence-days-of-action-2022-blessed-is-every-step-toward-nonviolence/ for more info.

Peace and neutrality videos from StoP, GAAW…..

The video of the StoP/Swords to Ploughshares seminar EU militarisation, Irish neutrality and the war in Ukraine: the case for peace is available at https://youtu.be/mqniPJg70xU with Miriam Ryan, Niamh Ní Bhriain, Jan Oberg and Eamon Rafter. The video of the Galway Alliance Against War Hiroshima Day event, including Roger Cole and Margaretta D’Arcy, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBbxqgMTOzw

World Beyond War’s War Abolisher Awards

These will recognise the work of an environmental organization that has prevented military operations in state parks in Washington State USA, a filmmaker from New Zealand who has documented the power of unarmed peacemaking, Italian dock workers who have blocked the shipment of weapons of war, and British peace activist and Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn who has taken a consistent stand for peace despite intense pressure. There is an online presentation event on 5th September at 7 p.m. Irish time. https://worldbeyondwar.org/

CCI: Continuing work in Belarus and Ukraine

Chernobyl Children International are continuing their work in both Belarus and Ukraine, including rest and recuperation camps this summer for the first time in a few years because of Covid. Adi Roche states “The needs in Ukraine are great, but we haven’t forgotten our children in Belarus, where our work continues.” See https://www.chernobyl-international.com/

New thoughts from Feasta on enterprise, education

New and valuable insights on ways forward on the Feasta website include a submission on enterprise policy which could enable Irish businesses to adapt nimbly and thrive in a ‘post-growth’, wellbeing-oriented economy, and an argument for a reorientation in education policy to cultivate self-sufficiency and achieve a regenerative economy. There are plenty of podcasts there too. https://www.feasta.org/

QCEA: When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers

QCEA/Quaker Council for European Affairs has a regular publication, Around Europe, which has useful reflections on EU and other affairs, including EU militarisation. The African quote above about elephants is from the Spring 2022 issue. https://www.qcea.org/

AFRI statement on PESCO and Commission on Defence Forces

Afri issued a statement in early July on PESCO and the Commission on the Defence Forces. They state “The debate on PESCO in Dáil Éireann on 5th July has revealed the undemocratic and damaging approach of the Government to the role and future of our Defence Forces.

For decades now, governments have been entering into ever deeper military engagement with an increasingly NATO-directed EU ‘defence’ structure, while claiming that something they call ‘military neutrality’ allegedly hovers unharmed above the fray.

The decisive majority of the people of Ireland – the ultimate owners of our defence policy – know that neutrality flows from the clear, practical commitments of Article 29 to ‘peace and friendly co-operation amongst nations… the pacific settlement of international disputes… [and] the generally recognised principles of international law.’ “

They go on to say that one of the most alarming aspects of the recent debate is Minister Coveney’s explicit promotion of the new PESCO engagements as choices made not by the Government but by the Defence Forces themselves. See https://www.afri.ie/category/afri-statement-on-pesco-and-the-commission-on-the-defence-forces/ This is a shortened item which appeared in the August news supplement

Mairead Maguire on Gorbachev

Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire issued a statement following the death of Mikhail Gorbachev, stating that he “…was a warmhearted and kind man with a vision of peace and nuclear disarmament and a belief that the cold war between the west and Russia could be changed by talking and friendship. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in building dialogue and encouraging America to sign important agreements to start dismantling nuclear weapons and end the arms race. Gorbachev took risks for peace and he gave hope to many of us when he met with President Regan and worked to end the cold war and the arms race. It is to the shame of the West that the promises given to President Gorbachev were broken and US/NATO instead of keeping to its promises not to advance one inch towards Russia actually surrounded it with NATO bases and partners and continues to militarize and arm the world. …” http://www.peacepeople.com/

INNATE TV
An hour long discussion with INNATE members has been screened on Belfast's community TV station NVTV (divided into two half hour slots) available at https://www.nvtv.co.uk/?s=innate and recorded in June 2022. The topic was 'Exploring nonviolent approaches to conflict and social change issues', including discussion of the arms trade, security, and the war in Ukraine.  The participants were Stefania Gualberti, who acted as interviewer, along with  Mark Chapman and Rob Fairmichael. NVTV’s online content in general is available at https://www.nvtv.co.uk/on-demand/ This item also appeared in the August news supplement

Pope Francis: Rethink ‘Just War’

In an interview in June, Pope Francis said “I believe it is time to rethink the concept of a ‘just war.’ A war may be just, there is the right to defend oneself. But we need to rethink the way that the concept is used nowadays.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251691/pope-francis-i-believe-it-is-time-to-rethink-the-concept-of-a-just-war

Síolta Chroí autumn courses

As well as a course for farmers in Monaghan, Cavan and Louth on regenerative farming, there are courses on Herbal remedies from your kitchen and garden on 17th September and one on Plant propagation on 22nd October. Síolta Chroí is at Aghacloghan, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan . See https://sioltachroi.ie/

FOE report card on government actions

For the last couple of years, Irish Friends of the Earth have commissioned a panel of independent expert judges to evaluate the Government’s progress on its own climate and environment commitments. Their analysis forms a useful report card that outlines the Government’s performance over the last year. In this year’s report card, the Government got a C grade overall, down from a C + grade last year. You can download a copy of the full analysis at https://www.foe.ie/news/annual-report-card-2022-is-the-government-keeping-its-promis/

Nonviolent News supplement for August 2022

Hiroshima commemoration – Dublin

Irish CND will mark the 77th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, which took place on 6th August 1945, by holding the customary annual commemoration in Merrion Square in Dublin. The ceremony will take place at the memorial cherry tree in Merrion Square Park, at 1.10 p.m. on Saturday 6th August. There will be short speeches by Deputy Lord Mayor Darcy Lonergan, Japanese ambassador Mr Mitsuru Kitano, and Irish CND president Patrick Comerford. There will also be contributions of music and poetry, and a wreath of flowers will be laid at the tree at the close of the commemoration.

An estimated 80,000 people were directly killed by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, with casualties reaching 140,000 within a year. Approximately 14,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world today. While this is less than the Cold War peak, it is still enough to destroy life on earth as we know it many times over.

Irish CND go on to say “Sadly, the past year has seen the dark shadow of the possibility of nuclear war return to our consciousness in form of explicit threats from both Russia and North Korea – chilling reminders that there is still much to be done before the world is free from the menace of nuclear annihilation. On the positive side, the first meeting of states under the auspices of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons took place just weeks ago in Vienna, and agreed a strong concluding Declaration and Action Plan. We must meet darkness with positive hope and determination.”

They ask that those attending to be familiar with current public health advice on appropriate measures aimed at minimising the risk from Covid-19 .They conclude “Wherever you are, even if you are not in a position to join us in person this year, please do join us in spirit to stand in solidarity with the victims of these horrific weapons of mass destruction, and to affirm our determination to work for their elimination, the only way to ensure that the ghastly events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will not be repeated.” http://irishcnd.blogspot.ie/

Hiroshima commemoration – Galway

The Hiroshima event organised by GAAW/Galway Alliance Against War takes place on Saturday 6th August, 2pm at Eyre Square, Galway City; the guest speaker is Roger Cole (Peace & Neutrality Alliance) with music, speech and song lasting around an hour. This marks the anniversary of the horrific atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki by the USA, the legacy of nuclear weapons, and the very real threat of nuclear warfare today. GAAW asks people to bring along any placards, flags or literature that they wish to display or distribute, or any food/drink that they may wish to share out – “food not bombs!”GAAW goes on to say that this year’s theme is defending Irish neutrality, which is under severe threat from Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and the Greens, with pressure to join an EU army and NATO. https://www.facebook.com/groups/312442090965

AFRI statement on PESCO and Commission on Defence Forces

Afri issued a statement in early July on PESCO and the Commission on the Defence Forces. They state “The debate on PESCO in Dáil Éireann on 5th July has revealed the undemocratic and damaging approach of the Government to the role and future of our Defence Forces.

For decades now, governments have been entering into ever deeper military engagement with an increasingly NATO-directed EU ‘defence’ structure, while claiming that something they call ‘military neutrality’ allegedly hovers unharmed above the fray.

The decisive majority of the people of Ireland – the ultimate owners of our defence policy – know that neutrality flows from the clear, practical commitments of Article 29 to ‘peace and friendly co-operation amongst nations… the pacific settlement of international disputes… [and] the generally recognised principles of international law.’ “

They go on to say that one of the most alarming aspects of the recent debate is Minister Coveney’s explicit promotion of the new PESCO engagements as choices made not by the Government but by the Defence Forces themselves.

The Government is eager for yet more involvement with PESCO, while An Taoiseach vaguely muses at the NATO summit in Madrid that ‘to change neutrality is something that ultimately the Irish people would have to have a say in’. He seems to forget that under Article 6 of the Constitution the Irish people have not ‘a say in’ but rather the say over such vital matters as defence and security.”

The Report also proposes upgrading the Army Ranger Wing to ‘Ireland’s Special Operations Force (IRL SOF) to align to international norms’ (p. 66). And the Commission know where those ‘norms’ come from: ‘NATO standards have become the accepted standard‐setting benchmarks for modern military forces’ (p. 57).” And Afri asks “what standards of behaviour does NATO’s record from Kosovo to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, uphold?”

See www.afri.ie

l A discussion on Newstalk radio including Afri coordinator Joe Murray on the increase in the spending on the Irish Army can be found at https://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/highlights-from-the-hard-shoulder/who-are-we-afraid-will-invade-us while a look at the history and potential of Irish neutrality by John Maguire can be found on the Afri website at https://www.afri.ie/category/a-vivid-impression-the-repressed-potential-of-irish-neutrality-by-john-maguire/

Mairead Maguire statement on NATO

A statement by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire on ‘NATO – the US dominated global war machine’ can be found at http://www.peacepeople.com/nato-the-us-dominated-global-war-machine/ In this she states that NATO’s purpose has been “ to act as an instrument for US world domination and to prevent all challenges to US hegemony”. She goes on to say “Now is the time for dialogue and those western Political leaders who stoke the fire of fear, division, and hate in Ukraine, instead of calling for ceasefire and negotiation, must consider the misery brought upon the poor people that most live with the horrors of war.”

INNATE TV

An hour long discussion with INNATE members has been screened on Belfast’s community TV station NVTV (divided into two half hour slots) available at https://www.nvtv.co.uk/?s=innate and recorded in June 2022. The topic was ‘Exploring nonviolent approaches to conflict and social change issues’, including discussion of the arms trade, security, and the war in Ukraine. The participants were Stefania Gualberti, who acted as interviewer, along with Mark Chapman and Rob Fairmichael. NVTV’s online content in general is available at https://www.nvtv.co.uk/on-demand/

Good Relations Week

Good Relations Week in Northern Ireland, on the theme ‘Change starts with us’, takes place from 19th – 25th September and a guide to possible involvement, a ‘toolkit’, is available on the website at https://goodrelationsweek.com/ The deadline for submissions is 26th August.

Spirit AeroSystems role in new UK military helicopter

It seemed that no sooner had the news come out that engineering firm Spirit AeroSystems (ex-Bombardier) in Belfast was no longer involved in developing a military drone (‘Loyal Wingman’) for the RAF (see NN 301) than it was announced they are part of a conglomerate in a project to create the H175M military helicopter for the UK Ministry of Defence. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/northern-ireland/spirit-aerosystems-in-belfast-to-play-role-in-airbus-bid-for-military-helicopter-project-41843011.html

FOE Climate Justice Youth Gathering, Wicklow

As this news supplement goes out, a Climate Camp is starting in Tarbert, Co Kerry, organised by Slí Eile https://climatecampireland.ie/ However later in August, Friends of the Earth is hosting a Climate Justice Youth Gathering from 21st to 24th August for people between 18-30. It will feature four days of campaign and action planning, skillshares and capacity building in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. This gathering will help shape the activities that Young Friends of the Earth does over the coming year. Places are limited and applications close on the 5th August. More information and apply at https://www.foe.ie/events/test-climate-justice-youth-gathering/

The next, full, issue of Nonviolent News is for September with a deadline of 1st September. This is a short supplement with mainly time-limited or immediate information, not a full issue