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Dawn Train

Number 283: October 2020

Donnellan, Roddy trial for 12 October
Peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan go on trial at the Dublin Criminal Court (Parkgate Street, beside Phoenix Park) on Monday 12th October, four years after they entered Shannon Airport to attempt to search and investigate US military aircraft that were on their way to and from US wars in the Middle East. They are charged with causing criminal damage to the airport fence and to the runway. It is estimated that over five million people, including one million children have died due to wars in the Middle East since the First Gulf War in 1991. The nonviolent peace action undertaken by Colm and Dave was done to expose Ireland’s complicity in these unjust wars.

While solidarity can be expressed at the court taking into account Covid-19 regulations, those interested in expressing support can also make contact through As Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch previously said, “It is not Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan who should be on trial. It is the war criminals who are destroying the Middle East, and Irish politicians and others who have been knowingly facilitating the killing of innocent people, who should be on trial.” See also 8 minute video at

News from CAJ: Rights in Northern Ireland, MI5
As with many organisations, CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice staff in Belfast are working from home but contact can be made as usual to Current issues include ongoing work on rights in Northern Ireland as Brexit confusion rages; “There are a number of imminent rights protections gaps that will result from Brexit. Some of these areas were to be addressed in the context of the EU-UK future relationship negotiations yet seem to have fallen off the agenda as the end of the transition period approaches”; see for more details.

In relation to a new British government bill, a joint press release from CAJ, Reprieve, Privacy International, and the Pat Finucane Centre points out that The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill appears not to explicitly prohibit the authorisation of murder, torture, or sexual violence. The organisations concerned are calling for the Bill to be amended to include explicit restrictions against offences of this nature, which would mirror safeguards imposed on other law enforcement agencies such as the American FBI and Canada’s intelligence service, CSIS. Paul O’Connor, Director of the Pat Finucane Centre, said: “Barely a week passes where this Government doesn’t announce yet another departure from recognised rules of domestic and international law. Nothing has been learnt from the scandal surrounding the officially sanctioned murder of Pat Finucane, an officer of the court. Legalising human rights abuses does not lessen the gravity of the abuse.”

White poppies from PPU
In spite of COVID-19, the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) in Britain is running its white poppy campaign as usual this year. On Remembrance Sunday it will hold an alternative remembrance ceremony online. Look out for updates at This year they are particularly reaching out to teachers, schools, parents and carers who want to explore an alternative approach to Remembrance Day in their schools and communities. The PPU has a new educational resource, with guidance on starting conversations about Remembrance Day and the white poppy in educational settings; the booklet contains activities for primary and secondary levels, discussion points, curriculum links, FAQs, and links to further resources.

Visit the PPU online shop to order either a free Taster Education Pack or the White Poppies Education pack (updated) with the new resource, plus 100 white poppies, stickers, poster and other materials. You can order white poppies on their online shop and they are also available at the Winding Stair Bookshop, Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin. Fact from their website: “A recent poll reveals that 83% of UK adults believe that victims of war of all nationalities should be included in remembrance, whilst 86% believe civilians should be included”.

Choral music on peace
Norman Richardson has edited together a collection entitled “Instrument of Peace: Songs of Peace for Choirs”. He says “The words reflect a range of sources in scriptures, liturgy, poetry and prayers, covering peace–related themes that offer perspectives on living in harmony with our fellow human beings, whatever their background, and with the planet that we share. Most of the texts are in English, a few include Latin and one is in Irish.” The book includes notes on the sources and origins of the words and music. The book costs £12 minimum with all takings going to the work of the Corrymeela Community. See or go to

Cyclist has a Wild Atlantic Way with her for CCI
Kinsale woman Pam Norris' Cycling for Baby Hearts fundraiser for Chernobyl Children International (CCI) has reached €100,000 for life-saving treatment for children born with a condition known as ‘Chernobyl Heart’. In 2015 from her hometown of Kinsale, then 70-year-old Pam cycled the route of the Wild Atlantic Way through West Cork and along the western seaboard to the Northwest and into Derry, to raise these vital funds; CCI recently held a presentation to recognise and honour Pam’s achievement. CCI manages an extensive Cardiac Programme and through this CCI has saved the lives of over 4,000 children in Belarus and Ukraine who suffer from a marked increase in cardiac birth defects since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. See CCI, 1A The Stables, Alfred Street, Cork. Ph 021 4558774, Email:

ICCL launch new anti-torture campaign
2nd October 2020 marks 13 years since Ireland signed but did not ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). That is 13 years where Ireland has promised to prevent torture and ill-treatment but has not taken the actual steps to ensure it doesn’t happen. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is marking this less-than-auspicious occasion with a new campaign “Where Everyone is Safe”.

The campaign will urge the government and the Department of Justice to finally ensure that everyone living in penal, institutional or residential settings in the State is safe. Ratifying OPCAT, or writing it into Irish law, would mean that the State would be obliged to create a National Preventive Mechanism which would oversee unannounced independent inspections and complaints procedures in any setting where people are detained against their will. Understood very broadly, this could include Direct Provision centres, nursing homes, psychiatric institutions and other residential settings. The inspectors would be empowered to make binding recommendations that the Government would be obliged to implement. See

Centre for Global Education, Belfast
The Centre for Global Education (CGE) has been working behind the scenes collaborating with educators to explore possible ways that it might be able to offer support as teachers and students transition back to school. First and foremost, it has been asked to help teachers position Global Learning to help students strengthen resilience and wellbeing as global citizens during a worldwide pandemic. They are now in the position to respond to these requests and offer schools in Northern Ireland a free Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) training package (2 training sessions followed by a sharing practice session) where teachers will be provided with: 1) Practical global learning activities for building student wellbeing and resilience whilst helping them make sense of COVID 19 on a global scale and 2) Tools and tips for engaging students virtually and through blended learning approaches, including outdoor learning. Closing dates are 5th October and 2nd December.

- CGE has started delivery of a new project in the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj Barajneh, Beirut in partnership with the Women’s Program Association, a local NGO. The programme will provide education and psychosocial support services to 75 Palestinian and Syrian refugee children aged 7-12 years who are unable to register in public schools. The project is funded by the trade union NIPSA. See

Amnesty International Ireland
Amnesty has numerous local groups around the country and while Covid-19 may make for difficulties, there is never a bad time to get in touch and get going. Go to and click on ‘Join a local group’ under ‘Get involved’ to see where there are groups, or you can sign up to receive info and get involved. Amnesty are also appealing for financial support for their work, especially in relation to Covid-19.

Majority Voting as a Catalyst of Populism
Prof John Barry and author Peter Emerson are the speakers at an online launch of the latter’s book “Majority Voting as a Catalyst of Populism”, 2020, (Springer, Heidelberg). This takes place on Wednesday 7th October from 6.00 – 7.30pm. The book presents a critique of binary majority rule and provides insights into why, in many instances, the outcome of a two-option ballot does not accurately reflect the will of the people. Go to to book. Meanwhile Peter Emerson’s subsequent book “Democratic Decision-making: Consensus Voting for Civic Society and Parliaments“, 2020 (Springer, Heidelberg) will be appearing very soon. See

War Profiteers News
The War Resisters’ International (WRI) publishes ‘War Profiteers News’ on a regular basis and it can be found on their website at The current issue includes a couple of stories of WRI affiliates taking action against the arms trade and militarisation, reports a close outcome in a referendum in Switzerland on fighter planes (carried by just 50.1% of the vote….), people in Belgium trying to stop arms shipments to Saudi, and a blockade in the USA at a tear gas factory. And readers may be interested in a new type of fragmentation bomb developed by the USA…...which reminds experts of weapons designed in 1784, when Henry Shrapnel designed a shell made of cast iron and filled with gunpowder and musket balls. The shell was designed to explode in mid air, raining musket balls on the target.

World Beyond War
A new, 5th, edition of “A Global Security System: An Alternative to War” “ is available, including as a PDF, at World Beyond War’s website; this is is their blueprint for an alternative security system – one in which peace is pursued by peaceful means and relies on three broad strategies to end war: 1) demilitarising security, 2) managing conflicts without violence, and 3) creating a culture of peace. See WBW is also publishing a new book by David Swanson, “Leaving World War II Behind “, on which topic they have an online course starting 5th October, details online.

Nonviolent News back issues
INNATE is currently dealing with archives, including back issues of the paper edition of Nonviolent News. All issues are available online, but if people would like any paper back issues, please get in touch and INNATE to see what it can do......INNATE also has a limited number of issues of Dawn magazine (1974-85) for disposal to good homes...


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