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(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

Number 217: March 2014

VSI volunteer projects
VSI has over 500 short term volunteer projects planned for 2014. Among them are - Food Not Bombs awareness raising project in Finland; Working on the Paths of Peace in the Dolomite mountains in Austria; Helping with the Just Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Fruit picking projects with Tent of Nations in Palestine; Maintenance and landscaping work at a former concentration camp in Poland. More details on Voluntary Service International, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 - 8551011,

CAJ on the past, Haass
The January issue of Just News, the newsletter of CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, focuses on dealing with the past including the views of some other NGOs. Regarding Haass, CAJ says that “In general, CAJ regards this section [proposals on dealing with the past] as a careful, sensitive and sensible contribution to the debate on dealing with the past....” and states that “these proposals should be the starting point of future political discussions.” See here

Amnesty International welcomes Haass
Amnesty International (AI) has called for the implementation of the 'Haass Talks' draft Agreement on dealing with the past in Northern Ireland. Publishing its six-page response, at the start of February, to the section of the draft Agreement addressing how to “deal with the past”, Amnesty International called on the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK and Irish governments to take forward the proposals by drawing up the necessary legislation to ensure they are fully human rights-compliant. Amnesty identified some areas of concern, but the organisation believes the proposals nevertheless provide a good basis for the creation of new truth and justice mechanisms for victims and their families. Amnesty says any such mechanism should be developed in line with international human rights standards, and must avoid replicating Northern Ireland’s current “patchwork” approach to accountability. See here

Margaretta D’Arcy, Shannon
Margaretta D’Arcy was moved during February from Limerick to the women’s prison in Dublin (Dóchas Centre, North Circular Road, Dublin 7). In an interview with Shannonwatch members, Margaretta D’Arcy said "The military use of the airport presents grave risks to the people in the airport or living nearby, as well as being in contravention of international laws and against the wishes of the majority of Irish people". While Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said that from 2004 to 2013 the Garda expenditure associated with anti-war protests at Shannon Airport amounted to over €17.3 million in security costs, she stated "It is wrong to say that these costs are associated with anti-war protests. They are directly related to the US military use of the airport. And they demonstrate particularly poor value for money, given that our presence on the runway had to be brought to the attention of security by other peace activists." See here

International Women’s Day camp at Shannon
To mark International Women's Day on Saturday 8th March 2014 a Women's Peace Camp will be held in Shannon between 12.00 noon and 16.00. It will take place just beside the roundabout where the monthly Shannonwatch Peace Vigil is held. This is just across the road from the site of the first Women's Peace Camp at Shannon set up in January 2003 prior to the invasion of Iraq by the USA in March 2003. Men and women are equally welcome. Details at For transport from Dublin contact PANA or text 087-2611597.

-There is also a regular weekly picket of Dáil Éireann in Dublin for the Free Margaretta D’Arcy Campaign; next one Wednesday 5th March from 1.00 – 1.45 pm.

-Afri has postcards on ‘The Shame of Shannon’ for sending to appropriate people and a petition about Shannon

Corrymeela Sunday and other events
Corrymeela Sunday provides an opportunity to reflect on embracing difference and what it means for each of us - wherever we live, work and worship. Churches can hold a Corrymeela Sunday Service at any time - a number of churches choose to hold it on the Sunday closest to St Patrick's Day - Sunday 16th March 2014. A downloadable pack is available here Meanwhile other open events include peace walks during Lent – Rathlin Island on 4th March, Lagan Towpath, Finaghy (Belfast) 25th March, and Roe Valley Country Park, Limavady on 1st April. A British-based conference takes place in Manchester on 15th March on the theme ‘A Shared Future and Reconciliation for All?’ For further information on these and other events see the website at

The Future for Shale? Manorhamilton
Afri is organising an evening of film, conversation and music on the theme of fracking including the premiere of a short film on fracking by Dearbhla Glynn. Speakers and discussion will be followed by music with Paddy Keenan and Steve Cooney. There will also be an exhibition of Gary White Deer’s paintings. 6pm Sunday 9th March 2014 in the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Admission free but donations welcome.

Ghost estates
Afri has produced postcards calling for ghost estates which are unfit for humans to be reclaimed by the planting of native trees. The postcards can be sent to Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan or anyone appropriate.

Accounts of the Conflict: Remembering, forgetting in S Africa
The next seminar in the Accounts of the Conflict Seminar Series organised by INCORE has a talk by Verne Harris entitled 'Remembering, Forgetting and South Africa', taking place at 12.00 p.m. on Wednesday 19th March 2014 in Skainos, 239 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1AF. Verne Harris is currently Director of Research and Archive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. He has also written extensively on issues of social justice, cultural memory, and reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. A light lunch will be served after the seminar at 1.00 p.m. RSVP by 12th March 2014 to Janet Farren, or ph 028 7167 5575.

Airing Erris
Airing Erris 2 takes place on Sunday 16th March in Seanscoil, Ceathrú Thaidhg, beginning at 2pm. Keynote speaker is Ed Vulliamy, renowned journalist, who broke the story about free alcoholic drink for Gardaí involved in policing the Corrib Gas Project, in the Sunday Observer. Event supported by Afri. Further details will be available on the Afri website

AI welcomes ESC rights recommendations
The Constitutional Convention in its final session examined existing limited provision for economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights and decided that the limited protection of these in the Irish constitution is inadequate. They have recommended that Bunreacht na hireann be amended to strengthen the protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said, “Those who framed our Constitution 77 years ago had a vision for our Republic. The Constitutional Convention recognised that further protection of ESC rights would help give effect to that vision..... We urge the Government to act upon this final recommendation from the Convention in a timely manner. It will, of course, not cure all our ills. But it will require that government design systems that prioritise good, evidence based decisions, in the interest of all our people”. For further details see Amnesty International

Mairead Maguire calls for BDS support on Israel, Palestine>
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, has called on the international community to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Campaign until the Israeli Government recognises Palestinian Human Rights. “The Palestinian narrative is a story of a prolonged occupation by Israel based on policies of Apartheid and racism, ongoing building on Palestinian land of Israeli settlements, house demolitions, and the continued denial by Israel of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people....South African visitors to Palestine have described the situation of blockade, occupation, as far worse than anything they experienced under the South African Apartheid era.....We all know the Jewish Narrative, particularly the story of the holocaust, but our sadness for this one of humanities greatest acts of inhumanity, should not stop us from speaking out on Israel’s current policy of a ‘silent genocide’ of the Palestinian people, and currently today of the people in Gaza.” See full statement

Mairead Maguire and Ann Patterson of the Peace People are joining an international coalition of 100 women travelling to Gaza to witness the hardships facing the 1.7 million residents, to deliver humanitarian aid, and call attention to the need for a serious strategy to achieve peace and justice for Palestinians. The delegations will attempt to enter Gaza through Egypt at the Rafah border on 6th March. They will be in Gaza for International Women’s Day, which is on March 8th, and return to Egypt on March 12th. The delegation will be delivering solar lamps to the women of Gaza, who have been facing severe electricity shortages.

Amnesty on 25 years after Patrick Finucane murder
Twenty-five years after the killing of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane, a prominent criminal defence and civil rights lawyer, who was shot 14 times by loyalist paramilitaries at his Belfast home on 12th February 1989, Amnesty International said the UK government’s failure to hold an independent public inquiry into the circumstances of his death is “not only cruel, but positively sinister”. In December 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged “shocking levels of State collusion” in the killing of Patrick Finucane, and apologised publicly to the family. Notwithstanding these acknowledgments, the UK government has continued to refuse to allow a public inquiry into the killing, repeatedly invoking a supposed fear of “costly and open-ended inquiries”. Amnesty’s statement ended that “The government’s failure to establish an inquiry into the Finucane killing is symptomatic of a wider failure to effectively address the past in Northern Ireland and ensure accountability for the human rights violations and abuses committed by all sides during three decades of violence.”

The Role of Time in Conflict and Peace Processes
Professor Luc Reychler (University of Leuven) will give this lecture drawing attention to the role of time in conflict and peace building. Wednesday 12th March at 6pm in the Neill/Hoey Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub, Dublin. Organised by Trinity Long Room Hub in association with the School of Religions, Theology and Ecumenics.

Dept of Agriculture on salmon: Not in the pink
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) has written to Pat Rabbitte (minister responsible for natural resources) asking him to take issue with the Ombudsman who has acceptedthe Department of Agriculture's claim that the scientific advice provided by Inland Fisheries Ireland for an EU investigation into salmon and sea lice contained 'many inaccuracies', 'fundamental errors', and 'omissions of relevant facts and misleading commentaries' which 'would have had disastrous results for Ireland's reputation had it sent the report to the European Commission'. FIE goes on to say that “the fundamental errors lay with the Department of Agriculture and it is the work of their Agency, the Marine Institute, discounting the influence of sea lice on wild salmon which has beendisgracedand has had a disastrous result for Ireland's reputation in Brussels.”/

30 years of Tools for Solidarity
Many, many years ago in a time long forgot a small band of volunteers started knocking on doors in Belfast to collect tools.....That small band changed over time, the organisation grew and with the help of hundreds of volunteers Tools For Solidarity became what it is today. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning and celebrations will run from the 20th - 24th August; if you would like to be part of it, get in touch. Tools For Solidarity ph 028 9074 7473 and

Controversy Manual
A new book by Brian Martin is well worth noting, in this case a ‘Controversy Manual’ which the publishers, Irene Publishing (who have published other works by the author), says offers practical advice for campaigners as well as plenty of information for people who want to better understand what’s happening and to be able to discuss the issues with friends. They go on to say that the Controversy Manual provides information for understanding controversies, arguing against opponents, getting your message out, and defending against attack: “While not taking sides on individual controversies, the emphasis is on fostering fair and open debate and opposing those who use power and manipulation to get their way.”

"The case for bottom-up peacebuilding"
This WRI webinar will be on Thursday, 6th March 2014 led by Geoff Harris. It is on Peacebuilding with a focus in Africa and is organised by War Resisters’ International (WRI) to kick-start a series of webinars to follow in the run up to the WRI July 2014 Cape Town Conference in South Africa. To register for this webinar, please follow this link


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