13/12/2012 - 21:11
14/12/2012 - 21:11
GAAW’S ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER 2012 @ 8PM SHARP RICHARDSON’S, EYRE SQ, GALWAY
The programme for this year’s AGM will be as follows: Our guest speaker will address the meeting, followed by ample time for Q&A, plus a thorough discussion. Then, we will turn to AGM business including a review of past activities and a discussion of future ones. On the night, resolutions can also be proposed from the floor.
GALWAY PEACE GROUP “IN THE WARS” WITH CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TACTICS
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Galway’s local peace group has certainly been in the wars in 2012. The group hit the national headlines on October 9th, the 11th anniversary of the Afghan war, when two of its members, Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell, breached security at Shannon airport to hold a peace action on the runway. The GAAW members claimed their protest was “to highlight the role of the Co. Clare airbase in the transport of US killer drones to the killing fields of Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Six weeks later the pair were back in police custody having been arrested from their homes for questioning in relation to their incursion into the airport.
But much earlier in the year GAAW members, carrying a tricolour draped coffin containing the symbolic remains of Irish neutrality, led the big anti-government demonstration to the doors of the Labour Party conference at NUIG. That protest also made national news as the GAAW pallbearers had to push their way through a phalanx of Gardai to reach their destination.
There was a further brush with the law and the Labour Party in June when the home of Niall Farrell, GAAW’s PRO, was raided by detectives from Shannon in relation to the peaceful sabotage of a US warplane at Shannon airport six months earlier in December 2011. In response, GAAW visited the homes of two government TDs, Labour’s Derek Nolan and Fine Gael’s Brian Walsh. There they handed in letters of protest concerning this “unwarranted raid”. The outrage expressed by the two politicians was treated with disdain by Farrell, who remarked, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
All of these events combined would suggest that GAAW is going down the road of civil disobedience. What underlines this view is the guest speaker for this Thursday’s AGM; Michael Randle is a veteran British peace activist and the author of a book entitled “Civil Resistance”. Randle became involved in the British peace movement back in the late 1950s. He was a member of the direct action Committee of 100. He has been imprisoned on a number of occasions for his peace activities. It was during one spell in Wormword Scrubs jail (1962-63) that he got to know the Soviet spy George Blake who had been sentenced to 45 years in prison. In 1966 Randle carried out his most adventurous action: along with Anne Randle, Pat Pottle and(Limerick-man) Seán Bourke he helped Blake escape from prison.
GAAW’s AGM could prove to be a watershed in the group’s 11 year history.