Volume 2, Number 21
23 January 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. The Price of the Irish Presidency
2. Henry McDonald and Sean Russell
3. Padraigin Drinan
4. Turkey: Amnesty Shock as Torture Prevention Group is Closed Because
of Europe Funding
5. Irish Volunteers for Spain - Review
6. Chavez Nationalises Venepal Under Workers' Control
7. Quotes from Discussion Sites
8. What's On
THE PRICE OF THE IRISH PRESIDENCY
Last year, Mary McAleese was elected as President of Ireland. But in
order to run her campaign, she needed the backing of high-profile
business figures and companies. Headed by Lawrence Crowley, the
governor of the Bank of Ireland, they raised 137,000 Euros. Donors
included the companies Cement Roadstone Holdings, Royal Sun Alliance,
Grafton Recruitment and United Drugs plc. Individuals who made
donations included the Chief Executive of the Bank of Ireland. Are we
to expect that this money came with no political strings attached?
For anyone interested to run for the Irish presidency, she had to
spend 20,605 Euros on renting offices and equipment, most of which was
on short-term Lease, 7,933 Euros on market research, and 13,749 Euros
on campaign workers.
No money, no votes.
(Irish Times, 22 January 2005)
HENRY MCDONALD AND SEAN RUSSELL
In the Observer (16 January 2005), Henry McDonald accused Liam
O'Ruairc of 'Nazi like denial' of the alleged collaboration between
Sean Russell and the Nazis.
However, it is Henry McDonald who gets his facts wrong:
"The facts about Russell's tenure as IRA O/C as well as his death are
crystal clear. As British cities were relentlessly bombed during the
Luftwaffe Blitz Russell dispatched bombers of his own to England.
Explosions killed civilians in cities such as Coventry..."
Unfortunately, Henry McDonald is factually wrong. The IRA's 1939-1940
campaign and the Blitz did not take place at the same time. It was on
Monday 16 January 1939 that the IRA bombing campaign in England began
- nine months before the Second World War began. It had peaked by the
time the Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Bill was
introduced by Westminster on 24 July 1939. The Coventry explosion
mentioned by Henry took place on 25 August 1939. And by the time
Barnes and McCormack were hanged on 7 February 1940, the campaign was
well on its way out. The Battle of Britain began in the summer of
1940, and the Blitz officially started on 7 September 1940. That
was a year after the Coventry explosion. It is thus factually
incorrect to imply that the IRA and Luftwaffe campaigns took place at
the same time.
"Moreover, Russell was feted in Berlin and travelled there
voluntarily. In order to aid the IRA campaign to disrupt the British
war effort Russell was transported back from Berlin in 1944 on a
Again, Henry gets the facts wrong. It was on August 1940 that Russell
and Ryan were sent back to Ireland by U Boat. By 1944, Russell had
been dead four years.
"Usually intelligent republican writers and critics such as Liam
O'Ruaric in Belfast have also gone down the Nazi-like denial line
pointing to Ryan's presence on the submarine and the fact that so many
IRA veterans like him fought on the Republican side in Spain."
My argument about Russell is not based on Ryan's presence but on a
series of well-established evidence:
"Sean Russell was essentially a physical-force republican and from
what we know he had little interest in ideologies and politics.
The Nazi attempts to indoctrinate Russell with their philosophy and
politics failed spectacularly. Sean Russell told one German official:
"I am not a Nazi. I'm not even pro-German. I am an Irishman fighting
for the independence of Ireland. The British have been our enemies for
hundreds of years. They are the enemy of Germany today. If it suits
Germany to give us help to achieve independence, I am willing to
accept it, but no more, and there must be no strings attached." (The
Irish Times, 6 June 1958).
The Public Records Office has released files, which show that, after
intensive post-war interrogation of German intelligence agents at the
highest level, British intelligence itself concluded in 1946 "Russell
throughout his stay in Germany had shown considerable reticence
towards the Germans and plainly did not regard himself as a German
In his 1958 novel, "Victors and Vanquished," Francis Stuart observed
of the Russell-based character: "Pro-German when it comes to the
English and Pro-Jew when it's a question of the Germans".
One might dismiss this as a literary invention were it not that this
assessment was corroborated by a more significant witness - Erwin
Lahousen, the first and most important witness for the prosecution at
the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1945. Lahousen had been head of the
second bureau of the German Intelligence Service from 1939 to 1943.
Lahousen wrote that Russell was "a real republican of the old school",
who may be willing "to use the Germans for his own political ends",
but who "regarded the Nazi philosophy as anathema".
In conclusion, Mr McDonald's argument is very shaky and needs to
provide a great deal more evidence to back up his claims of Liam's
"Nazi like denial".
The Law Society of Northern Ireland is in the process of closing down
the law practice of one Padraigin Drinan. She can no longer represent
her clients and they are asking the High Court in Belfast to freeze
her assets immediately. The reason given by Ms Bryson of the Law
Society of Northern Ireland for these actions depend on who is asking.
She has told Padraigin that it is because she failed to respond to
letters from the society (Padraigin maintains that she answered the
questions asked fully in other correspondence). She has told others it
is because Padraigin had not amalgamated her practice with that of
another solicitor. One person even got a call today saying, "Watch
what your getting into, this is about financial irregularities". This
is nonsense, as you need to be making money to be irregular with it,
and a huge portion of Padraigin's work is done pro bono.
Padraigin has a long history of defending the dispossessed. She's a
champion of the poor; she fights for those in society who have no
voice. Immigrants, the residents groups, Dominic McGlinchey (raising
his sons, after their father's death), and above she does what's right
and speaks out against injustice no mater who is perpetrating that
What is needed at this moment is to get the word out to as many
people, unions, politicians and activist groups possible and to ask
them to contact Ms Bryson of the Law Society of Northern Ireland and
ask her why Padraigin is being persecuted? To ask, which of the three
reasons given has Padraigin's ability to practice been taken away
over? Moreover, is this not more actually punishment for the political
orientation of her clientele? Is it not about the fact that she is
trying to keep loyalists from again invading nationalist communities
in the coming marching season?
Additional information will be forth coming, but until then we are
asking that concerned individuals and groups write to the address and
email below and put the questions outlined above to Ms Bryson.
Padraigin has taken cases that have made her enemies. The British and
Irish Governments because she ruined their citizenship referendum, by
demonstrating that it disenfranchised the six counties and exposed the
fact that people from the six counties who put themselves down as
Irish could not get jobs in the civil service there. GFA-supporting
parties because her challenge to Orange marches in the nationalist
community undermines deals to resurrect Stormont. The
unionist/loyalist community because of her association with issues
impacting on the nationalist community.
Contact Suzanne Bryson and tell her that you are aware of the
witch-hunt against Padraigin and want it to end. Padraigin Drinan may
be the most important civil rights attorney practicing in the six
counties today, please join in defending her and don't delay.
SUZANNE BRYSON - Deputy Secretary
Law Society of Northern Ireland
98 Victoria St
Belfast, Ireland BT1 3JZ
(E-mail from Daisy Mules)
TURKEY: AMNESTY SGOCK AS TORTURE PREVENTION GROUP IS CLOSED BECAUSE OF
Amnesty International has written to the President of the Izmir Bar
Association, Mr Nevzat Erdemir, to express its shock at his decision
to dissolve its Torture Prevention Group.
The Group had been engaged in groundbreaking work in bringing justice
to torture victims and its closure is a step-back in the struggle
against torture. Amnesty International called for the decision to be
Mr Nevzat Erdemir stated last month that one of the reasons that he
was closing the Torture Prevention Group was because a project it was
coordinating was receiving funds from the European Commission which he
claimed was on a mission to divide Turkey and to damage its national
interest, including through the creation of "an independent
He stated that the closure of the Group was necessary in order to
prevent "disasters for our Republic, our Nation and People" and that
he "violently denounces this initiative [the Torture Prevention
Group], supported by the European Union, which is directed, under the
name of human rights, at the unity and integrity of our country".
He also criticised the Group's cooperation with international
organisations - understood to include Amnesty International.
Amnesty International is further concerned at reports that the
administration of the Izmir Bar Association had seized files and
computers from the offices of the Torture Prevention Group on 7
January. These contained confidential testimony, photos and other
records related to some 575 applications from victims of torture.
Amnesty International is concerned that applicants may subsequently
face the risk of harassment, detention or even further torture and
ill-treatment. It therefore sought urgent clarification as to the
whereabouts of these documents.
The decision in December 2004 to close the Torture Prevention Group
appears to be against Article 95 of the Turkish Law on Legal Practice
which states that one of the duties of Executive Boards of Bar
Associations in Turkey should be to "protect and defend supremacy of
law and human rights and to work to have these subjects applied".
The Torture Prevention Group was established in December 2001 by the
Izmir Bar Association with the aim of providing legal aid to the
victims of torture and to campaign to remove all obstacles in Turkish
law and practice that might prevent the successful prosecution of
The Group provides legal support to individuals who complain of
ill-treatment and torture by police officers. It systematically
monitors all stages of subsequent legal proceedings and intervenes
when necessary including by lodging appeals and organizing medical
The work of the Group is carried out by some professional staff but
mainly by more than 250 lawyers from the Izmir Bar Association who
By the date of the decision by the Izmir Bar Association to close the
Group, 575 individuals had applied to it. Of these the Group had
worked on 334 cases, in 116 of which perpetrators had been charged.
The Group has also been active in sharing its experiences with lawyers
throughout Turkey by organising workshops. The tireless and
groundbreaking work of the Torture Prevention Group is a model not
just for lawyers in Turkey but around the world.
Official human rights bodies in Turkey like the Provincial and Local
Human Rights Boards have been largely ineffective in investigating and
monitoring human rights violations in Turkey. The work of the Torture
Prevention Group has therefore been especially important in
documenting the extent of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey.
Despite Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoana's statement to the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe in October 2004 that "there is no
longer any systematic torture in Turkey", his administration has
failed to take sufficient steps to investigate and monitor patterns of
torture for him to be able to make such a statement.
Only in Izmir, thanks to the work of the Torture Prevention Group and
human rights organisations, has the true extent of the situation in
Turkey begun to be exposed in an objective fashion.
IRISH VOLUNTEERS FOR SPAIN
(from the Irish Democrat)
David Granville reviews Irish Volunteers for Spain - a short history
of the Northern Irish volunteers who fought in defence of the
republican government of Spain 1936-1939 by Raymond John Quinn,
Belfast Cultural and Local History Group, Â£4.99
While we await a revised edition of Michael O'Riordan's classic study
of the Irish involvement in the fight against fascism in Spain,
expected sometime in 2005, the recent publication of Raymond John
Quinn's short history arrives as another welcome contribution, which
will expand our understanding of the role of volunteers from the
northeast who fought in the conflict.
Quinn, an East Belfast community-based writer and historian, points
out that of the 275 Irish volunteers who left their homes and families
to join the International Brigades, 61 were from the north.
Placing the Spanish conflict firmly within the political and
historical context of the ideological battles taking place between
left and right throughout Europe in the 1930s, he points to particular
developments in Ireland, where attempts to develop left-wing
republicanism led to the short-lived Republican Congress.
Although his account, which includes a brief outline of the main
battles and offensives, focuses on those from the north who fought on
the side of Spain's republican government against the fascist forces
of General Franco, the eventual victors, he does not ignore those who
fought with O'Duffy's foreign legion on the opposing side.
Ex-IRA men fought on both sides, although Quinn suggests that it was
loyalty to the Catholic faith and concerns about the persecution of
their co-religionists in Spain rather than strict adherence to
right-wing political ideology that attracted a majority of those who
joined O'Duffy's ranks - including some who had taken the republican
side in the Irish civil war.
Yet it would be difficult to describe the Catholic Church's support
for Franco's armed rebellion against the democratically elected,
left-leaning republican government of Spain, and its opposition to
anything vaguely socialistic in character, let alone communistic, as
being anything other than ideologically motivated.
What united the volunteers, who fought on the republican side, whether
communist, left republican or anarchist, Catholic, Protestant or
atheist, was a belief in socialism and staunch opposition to the
growing fascist menace in Europe.
Quinn's excellent short account includes a number of interesting
photographs, an alphabetical list of all the northern volunteers and
six short biographical profiles of a number of volunteers: James
Haughey, Paddy McAllister, Eamon McGrotty, Fred McMahon, Jim Straney
and Liam Tumilson.
Although the Irish Democrat is referred to on a number of occasions,
it should be pointed out that this is a different publication to the
one associated with the Connolly Association. The Connolly
Association's paper has only been known as the Irish Democrat since
1947. Before that, the Connolly Club's, and subsequently the Connolly
Association's, paper was titled Irish Freedom. The link, in so far as
there is one, probably rests with the fact that supporters of the
Republican Congress in London were instrumental, along with members of
the Irish section of the League Against Imperialism, former members of
the Irish Self-Determination League and others, in the founding of the
original Connolly Club in London in 1938.
Copies of 'Irish Volunteers for Spain' are available from the Four
Provinces Bookshop in London. They can also be obtained directly from
the Belfast Cultural and Local History Group, 537 Antrim Rd, Belfast
BT15 3BU, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAVEZ NATIONALISES VENEPAL UNDER WORKERS' CONTROL
By Jorge Martin
On the morning of January 19th, in the Ayacucho room of the
Presidential Palace in Caracas, and with the presence of Venepal
workers and trade union leaders, Chavez signed decree number 3438
which expropriates Venepal. From now on it will be co-managed by the
workers and the state.
This is a very important victory for the workers of Venepal but more
than that it is a massive step forward for the Bolivarian revolution.
Venepal is one of the main producers of paper and cardboard in
Venezuela and its plant is located in Morón, in the industrial
state of Carabobo. At one point it employed a total of 1,600 workers,
controlled 40% of the national market and was one of the main Latin
American producers in this sector. But the company's management
allowed the paper mill to slowly lose market shares and revenues. In
April 2002, at the time of the short lived military coup against
Chávez, some of its main shareholders were present at the swearing
in ceremony for the new, illegitimate, "president" Pedro Carmona.
During the bosses' lockout against the Chávez government in
December 2002-January 2003 the workers resisted attempts by the
employers to paralyse the plant.
In July 2003, the owners declared bankruptcy and the workers responded
by occupying the plant and starting to run production under workers'
control. Rowan Jimenez, a trade union activist and member of the
action committee, explained how during the occupation, "the workers
organised production, broke all productivity records and reduced
unproductive waste to a level never seen before", (El Topo Obrero
interview, 16/09/04). After a 77-day long struggle an uneasy truce was
reached. But that was not to last. On September 7th of last year, the
company again ceased operations and the workers' struggle started
From the outset of the struggle the workers adopted the demand for
nationalisation under workers' control that was being proposed by the
comrades of the Revolutionary Marxist Current (The Workers' Mole).
There were a number of demonstrations in Moron and in Caracas, and
solidarity actions were being organised by workers in other factories,
particularly those organised by the Carabobo region of the newly
established trade union federation, the UNT.
After months of struggle, finally, on January 13th, when a delegation
of Venepal workers went to Caracas to demand a solution, the National
Assembly declared Venepal and its installations to be of "public
usefulness and social interest". This was the prelude for Chavez
signing decree no. 3438. This is the result of the struggle and the
resilience of the workers in Venepal who consciously sought the
support of the local community for their struggle.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, in front of a large number of
Venepal workers and UNT trade union leaders, Chavez said "here we are
creating a new model, and that is why in Washington they are angry...
our model of development implies a change in the productive apparatus.
The working class must be united, learn and participate".
Before Chavez, the oldest worker in Venepal took the stage and
described their four month long struggle and the sacrifices they had
had to make. Edgar Peña, general secretary of the Venepal workers'
union explained how the workers had drafted a project that proved the
company could be profitable and how this paved the way for
expropriation. Peña also asked for National Guard protection of the
installations, since there are still those bent on sabotaging them. He
also explained how, when they resume production in a few weeks' time,
the first products will be destined for the government's social
programmes (Misiones), "for the benefit of the working class".
In his intervention, Chavez stated that capitalism is a model based on
slavery, "and this is why in Washington they are angry, because we
want to liberate ourselves from capitalism, in the same way that they
were angry many years ago with the ideas of Libertador Simon Bolivar".
Referring to Condoleeza Rice's recent criticisms of Venezuela, he said
that there are good remedies in the market to cure ulcers, "for those
who might need it". He added that some might be annoyed at what is
happening in Venezuela, but "they will continue to be annoyed by the
revolutionary process, because no one is going to dislodge us from
Chavez added that the "role of the workers in this model is
fundamental and this is the difference between this model and the
capitalist model". He emphasised that "it is necessary to change the
"Capitalism wants to annihilate the workers... here we are carrying
out a process of liberation of the workers, and this is why they are
annoyed in Washington".
Paraphrasing Lenin, Chavez said, "neoliberal capitalism is the highest
stage of capitalist madness."
"In Venezuela we are at war, but not invading other countries or
violating other countries' sovereignty... here we are at war against
misery and poverty".
He explained that the recovery of factories on the part of the state
is aimed at changing the conditions of exploitation the workers have
been submitted to by the capitalist model and the recovery of the
country's industrial capacity. He added that these new companies
should not be viewed through the lens of state capitalism, but rather
as co-management. "We must not fear the workers since they are the
soul of the companies".
Chavez also announced the "recovery" of a maize processing plant and
all of the basic industries in Guyana (this means the massive SIDOR
steelworks amongst others).
Though he said that "today's expropriation of Venepal is an
exceptional measure... we are not going to take away land, if it is
yours it is yours", he was also clear that "any factories closed or
abandoned, we are going to take them over. All of them."
"I invite the workers' leaders to follow on this path" he said. This
is a clear appeal to workers in other factories who were also involved
in the struggle of the occupied factories in July-August 2003, like
the CNV, Fenix, Industrial de Perfumes, CODIMA, among others. Workers
in these factories have already started to remobilise.
This is without doubt a massive step forward in the right direction.
But it must also be extended to all those other sectors of the economy
that are under monopoly and imperialist control. This should include
the banking system (which is largely in the hands of the two Spanish
multinationals), the telecoms sector (in the hands of US
multinationals), the food distribution sector (in the hands of a
couple of Venezuelan companies owned by known coup organisers), and
others. This needs to be done, as in the case of Venepal, under
workers' control. In this way the whole economy could be planned to
the benefit of the majority of working people. This would be the only
way of guaranteeing the final victory of the revolution. Workers'
control or management, if it remains isolated in one single company,
cannot, in the longer term, fundamentally solve the problem.
Through its own experience, the Bolivarian revolution has come up
against the wall of capitalism. Now it needs to break it down and move
to a democratically planned socialist economy in order to win the war
against poverty and misery.
IRAQI PATRIOTIC ALLIANCE ON THE "ELECTION"
Almost two years have now passed since the brutal imperialist war
against Iraq was waged and the subsequent occupation of the country
Both the administrations of Bush and Blair started this war by using
the false pretexts that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and
had terrorist links with Al-Qaida.
This aggression has resulted in hundred of thousands of martyrs and
wounded civilians and the total destruction of the infrastructure. It
has resulted in the demolishment of the old and new civilization of
Iraq, where national museums were looted and destroyed; libraries were
burned and scientific institutions destroyed.
The thirteen years of sanctions and the more than one and a half
million dead Iraqis were not enough to satisfy their blood thirst.
Today, the whole world is witnessing the fall of the US pretexts of
the aggression and occupation of the Iraq. All their lies about the
so-called freedom, democracy and human rights are being exposed around
the world with all the massacres and destruction they are causing in
Iraq, where Fallujah is not the last example.
Now, the illegitimacy of the Anglo-American war is obvious to the
international community and world opinion, which pushed the Secretary
General of the United Nation to declare: "The war is illegal, and it
is a clear breach of international law and against the UN Charter."
The failure of the political process of US-imperialism in Iraq and its
attempt to create an Iraqi instrument, in order to sell the
imperialist project to the Iraqi people, is due primarily to the
revolutionary strategy of some of the Iraqi resistance, which targets
the occupation force and its political institutions.
The Iraqi resistance has, by its revolutionary strategy, succeeded to
establish two clear fronts: That of the Iraqi resistance, backed by
its people and many sincere people of the world, and the front of
imperialism and its Iraqi and international tools.
The military and security dilemma, which is facing the occupation in
Iraq, is a result of the growing resistance that has pushed the
occupying power to political maneuvering and escape by calling for the
farce, which they call an "election" scheduled for January 30.
The Iraqi Patriotic Alliance emphasizes that it is impossible to hold
democratic and free elections under imperialist occupation. At the
same time, we condemn the American-Iranian-Kurdish connivance which
materializes in the occupation, the attempts to divide Iraq, and in
the preparation of civil war. We underline the following:
The war and the subsequent occupation are illegitimate, and
therefore every political process, including the election, is
The election is meant to legalize the occupation by bringing on
an Iraqi parliament and government with one clear goal: to prolong the
This election aims to legalize and institutionalize the religious and
ethnic quota system in Iraq, which will promote ethnic and religious
divisions of Iraq.
The armed Iraqi resistance is the only legitimate representative of
the Iraqi people.
For all these reasons, we call upon our Iraqi people with all its
ethnic, religious and political diversities to boycott this illegal
And we call upon the peace and anti-war movements and all forces
opposing the occupation to condemn this political farce. Before the
election, there is an illegal occupation and illegal government in
Iraq; they will remain so after the election.
Long live the Iraqi resistance!
The occupiers will leave, and Iraq will remain!
January 18, 2005
Iraqi Patriotic Alliance
QUOTES FROM DISCUSSION SITES
If Marxism has no future, the mean reason would be, that Marxists
insist that what Marx says is a priori immune to logical and
evidential critique, making Marxism a closed metaphysical system of
faith incapable of further development in the light of new experience,
a system according to which all new findings are assimilated by
analogy to sacred texts from the past.
Here are some references to statements by Frederick Engels on the
(1) "The materialist conception of history has a lot of them nowadays,
to whom it serves as an excuse for not studying history. Just as Marx
used to say, commenting on the French "Marxists" of the late 70s:
"All I know is that I am not a Marxist." "
(2) "Now what is known as 'Marxism' in France is, indeed, an
altogether peculiar product - so much so that Marx once said to
Lafargue: 'Ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas
(3) "The Social-Democratic Federation here shares with your
German-American Socialists the distinction of being the only parties
who have contrived to reduce the Marxist theory of development to a
rigid orthodoxy. This theory is to be forced down the throats of the
workers at once and without development as articles of faith, instead
of making the workers raise themselves to its level by dint of their
own class instinct. That is why both remain mere sects and, as Hegel
says, come from nothing through nothing to nothing."
(4) Accusing Guesde and Lafargue of "revolutionary phrase-mongering"
and of denying the value of reformist struggles, Marx made his famous
remark that, if their politics represented Marxism, "ce qu'il y a de
certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste" ("what is certain is
that I myself am not a Marxist").
(5) Friedrich Engels hat weiter gesagt: "Wer Marxist ist, hat Marx
niemals verstanden." [What a Marxist is, Marx never understood].
Launch of North Belfast Profile by Rights Project
Dear Friends, date for diaries, this will take place at 1.00pm at the
NICVA building on the Duncairn Gardens in North Belfast on the 26th of
January and will finish at 3.00pm.
This will be an up to date profile of the area and will include
statistical information and comment and been compiled by the Rights
Coalition to highlight issues and the continuing need for a rights
based approach to community development.
"A Come All Ye"
The best Burns Night in the North!
Saturday, 29th January 2005
Venue: C. P. I. Premises
8-10 Exchange Place, Belfast
Starting: 8.00 pm.
Don't miss a firework of
Poetry, music and song.
Haggis (vegetarian option available),
Taties and Neeps.
Master of Ceremony:
Booking strongly recommended:
Phone 02890230669 or 02877742655
Attached is the information and programme of this years Annual Human
Rights Conference that is being hosted by The Irish Peace Society in
the University of Limerick from 28th January-30th January.
Of major interest to you may be the Students Human Rights Network we
hope to establish at the conference. Attached also are the details of
this and what we hope to get out of the workshop. Please give it a
read and consider coming. Anyone that you know who is interested in
grassroots networks may also want to get involved in setting up the
network so pass onthe info.
International and Irish speakers to attend Human Rights Conference in
The 3rd Annual Human Rights Conference, organised by the Irish Peace
Society, will open in Limerick on Friday 28th January. Attracting
world wide speakers such as Jana Kiser, founder Global Learning; and
Saif Abukeshek, head Co-ordinator of International Solidarity
Movement, the Human Rights Conference will also hear from Irish Times
columnist John Waters, Michael D. Higgins, and MEP Simon Coveney.
Other speakers include Caoimhe Butterly, an Irish human rights and
peace activist from Cork, who was rated as one of the top 100 people
of the year by Time Magazine Europe 2002 for her efforts in peace
initiatives in Palestine's West Bank. Mary Kelly, a former nurse who
came to public attention when she dismantled an American military
plane at Shannon Airport at the outbreak of the war in Iraq in 2003.
The focus of this year's conference is to connect the discussion of
human rights with those individuals that are living every day in the
shadow of these human rights. Various panels will meet during the
weekend to discuss a wide array of human rights topics ranging from
Disability, Gay Rights and Citizenship issues.
The panel on Woman's Rights will focus on Rape as a crime against
women. Anne Marlborough from the University of Limerick Law
Department, and Ingrid Wallace from the Limerick Rape Crisis Centre
are expected to speak. The panel on Father's Rights will examine the
mutual rights pertaining to fathers and their children. Aisling Reidy,
Director for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties will chair this
panel, which will feature The Irish Times columnist John Waters, and
Family Law Expert, Geoffrey Shannon.
The conference will conclude on Sunday 30th January in the Jean Monnet
Theatre, University of Limerick, with a forum on the Middle East. Saif
Abukeshek, Ofer Zalzberg, Caoimhe Butterly and MEP Simon Coveney will
each contribute to this forum.
The conference opens in St. Mary's Cathedral in Limerick on Friday
28th January at 7pm. Internationally acclaimed musican, Micheal
O'Suilleabhain accompanied by a string quartet from Limerick will
provide musical entertainment on the opening night. AMEN, featuring
lead singers Noirin Ni Riain will also perform. Noreen is renowned for
singing at numerous international peace gigs and in the past has
performed for the Dalai Lama.
Weekend Ticket Prices range from €25 for students, to €50 for
any member of an organisation. The public are welcome to attend the
weekends events, with tickets costing €35. One can also attend
individual events, the cost for this is €10. Tickets will be on
sale during registration on Friday 28th a St. Mary's Cathedral and
again Saturday morning in the University Concert Hall.
For further information, please contact:
Siobhan Dee, IPS, 086 8671573
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS: 3RD ANNUAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE
FRIDAY 28TH JANUARY:
OFFICIAL OPENING AT 7PM IN ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL, LIMERICK
The opening event will feature the following:
* Jana Kiser, founder Global Learning, and education initiative in
* Caoimhe Butterly, international humanitarian, nominated by TIME
magazine Europe as one of the world's top 100 individuals for the year
* John Waters, Irish Times Opinions journalist and active campaigner
on the issue of fathers' rights in Ireland.
* Mary Kelly, a former nurse, who came to public attention when she
dismantled and American military plane at Shannon Airport at the
outbreak of the war in Iraq in 2003.
Musical entertainment will be provided by:
* Micheal O'Suilleabhain accompanies by a string quartet.
* AMEN, featuring lead singer Noirin Ni Riain. Noirin has participated
in numerous international peace gigs, and has also performed for the
* Downtown Crossing which is a 6-piece reggae/funk band.
* Lucas, featuring special guest Graham Brennan.
SATURDAY 29TH JANUARY:
DISCUSSION PANELS COMMENCE AT 10AM IN THE UNIVERSITY CONCERT HALL,
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK.
9.30-10am: Morning Coffee & Tea Venue: Irish World Music Centre, Conce
10am-12noon: Venue: Ground Floor, University Concert Hall
1. Disability Panel
Martin Naughton, Founder Irish Centre for Independent Living
Caroline McGrath, Deputy CEO Mental Health Ireland
Liam Herrick, Senior Legislation & Policy Review Officer: Irish Human
David Staunton, FG Front Bench Spokesperson on Social & Family Affairs
2. Women's Rights Panel
Women's Rights Rape, a crime against Women
Anne Marlborough, University of Limerick Law Department.
Ingrid Wallace, Senior Counsellor for Limerick Rape Crisis Centre
Mary Kelly, Former CEO of NWCI
Kate Mulkerrins, Barrister and legal co-ordinator for RCNI
3. Gay Rights Panel
Gay Rights - the Legality concerning Homosexuality in the Irish state
Ailbhe Smith, Co-Chair, National Lesbian and Gay Federation
Louise Tierney, Manager, Outhouse in Dublin
Dr. Patricia Conlon, University of Limerick Law Department
1-3pm: Panels Continue. Venue: Ground Floor, University Concert Hall
4. Citizenship Panel
Maurice Manning, Chair, Irish Human Rights Commission
Michael D. Higgins, Labour Party
Others speakers TBC
5. Traveller's Panel
Featuring: Bridget Casey, Bishop Willie Walsh, David Joyce
6. Father's Rights Panel
Father's Rights - Mutual Rights pertaining to Fathers and their
Aisling Reidy, Chair, Director of the Irish Council for Civil
John Waters, Irish Times Columnist
Benig Mauger, Psychotherapist
Liam O'Gogain, Parental Equality Campaigner
Geoffrey Shannon, Family Law Expert with the Law Society
3-3.30pm: Afternoon Tea & Coffee Venue: Concert Hall Foyer
Workshop to establishing a Students Human Rights Network
Venue: Ground Floor, University Concert Hall
7.30pm: Multicultural Banquet, Venue: South Court Hotel, Admission:
SUNDAY 30TH JANUARY: FORUM ON THE MIDDLE EAST
12noon-2.00pm: Middle East Forum, Venue: Jean Monnet Theatre
Saif Abukeshek: Head coordinator of International Solidarity Movement,
and Co-ordinator for the International Relations of the Highest
National Committee for the Right of Return for the Palestinian
Refugees in Palestine.
Ofer Zalzberg: Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Young Israeli Forum
for Co-operation, an Israeli NGO that promotes dialogue and
understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. Ofer is also a
non-commissioned Officer (reserve) in the Intelligence Corps of the
Mr. Ali Halimeh: Representative from the General Delegation of Ireland
Caoimhe Butterly: An Irish human rights and peace activist, Caoimhe
has spent time living in the Palestine's West Bank, mostly in Jenin
Camp. On 21 November 2002, she was shot at close-range by an Israeli
sniper, who she saw aiming his gun at her from an armored personnel
carrier. Time Magazine Europe 2002 rated Caoimhe Buttlery as one of
the top 100 people of the year.
MEP Simon Coveney: A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a
Member of the Sub Committee on Human Rights.
2.00-2.30 - Afternoon Tea / Coffee
2.00-2.30 - Key End Note Address, Venue: Jean Monnet Theatre
Student's Human Rights Network 2005
The members of this years Third Annual Human Rights Conference
Committee are setting aside a two hour slot on the Saturday evening of
the conference, 29th January 2005 in hope of setting up a Students
Human Rights Network (SHRN).
It is envisaged, that the SHRN will be an umbrella coalition made up
of all the student groups, at secondary and at third level who deal in
the area of Human Rights all over the island. This coalition is open
to all interested parties such as NGO'S, grassroots student
organisations and other relevant bodies dedicated to supporting Human
Rights, encouraging dialogue on issues of HR abuses and also
interested in actively working to encourage change in our society and
others, so that Human Rights are respected and upheld. We, the
committee feel that this is not just an aspiration but is a
possibility. The agenda below is a provisional set of steps that we
believe will help us reach our goal of setting the foundation for a
SHRN, but as this is the students of the island of Irelands' network,
everything is open for discussion and suggestions are welcome.
* Mission Statement
* Aims and Objectives
* Difficulties that may arise
* How can we make this a possibility
* Active email list
* Web-site amendments e.g. notice board or discussion forum
* HRC organisation every year - rotation of hosts
* Publications other than the web-site
* Up coming events - other than the HRC
One of the important outcomes we want from this meeting is for a
contact list to be compiled so as to make our hope of a SHRN
BLOODY SUNDAY COMMEMORATION
MARCH & RALLY
Saturday 29TH JANUARY 2005
ASSEMBLE 10:30 AM SHAMROCK STREET
GLASGOW CITY CENTRE
RALLY POINT ROYSTONHILL
SPEAKERS IN ATTENDANCE
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