Friday, October 21, 2011

Belfast October 17 - 19, 2011

Rob and Carmel hosted us for two nights. Their friend Mark joined us for a discussion in the evening and learned a lot about the Catholic / Protestant war as well as the anti-war and peace movement in North Ireland.

A member of North Ireland Parliament, Mickey Brady, met with us.  He is with the Sinn Fein party, which has the main issue of wanting a unified Ireland.  He is very progressive and not a "professional politician" - he worked in social programs before being elected to Parliament.  Another of his concerns is the treatment of ex-prisoners who had been in the Irish Republican Army.  They cannot vote and have other sanctions against them. He's also concerned about the treatment of people currently in Irish prisons, including strip searches that are not justified.  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as use of Shannon airport in the Irish Republic are concerns as well.  He is very interested in signing and circulating a letter asking Obama to permit the UN Special Repateur on Torture to visit privately with Bradley Manning.

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