Events with a political twist at the 25th West Belfast Féile (1-11 August 2013)

A belated preview of some of the debate and politically-relevant events coming up in the 25th West Belfast Féile which runs until 11 August. The full programme is available on the festival website.

Feile 25 logoFriday 2 August

Robbie Burns, Poems and Songs – 7.30pm in Berry Street Presbyterian. Philip Orr and Mike Gaston “bringing out something beyond the tartan and haggis, including Burns’ radical political sympathies”.

Monday 5 August

Human Rights & Investigative Journalism – noon in St Mary’s University College. Amnesty’s annual journalistic panel this year featuring Kevin Magee (formerly Spotlight), Barry McCaffrey (The Detail) and Allisson Morris (Irish News).

McGurk’s Bar – a loss of innocence – 5pm in St Mary’s University College. Documentary film made by families of those killed in the 1971 massacre. Followed by Q&A including author Ciarán MacAirt.

From East to West – Building the Irish Language from the Grassroots Up – 7pm in St Oliver Plunkett Parish Hall, Lenadoon. Irish language promoters Linda Ervine from East Belfast Mission and Feargal Enright from Glór na Móna speak about their experiences.

Reconciliation & Acknowledging the Past – 7.30pm in St Mary’s University College. Organised by the SDLP, and chaired by Alex Attwood MLA, a panel will explore “the relationship between truth and reconciliation in Ireland today”. Panellists include Catherine McCartney (human rights activist), Breige Quinn (mother of murdered Paul Quinn), Eleanor Jordan (Windsor Women’s Centre in the Village), and Denis Bradley (co-chaired Consultative Group on the Past) Mark Thompson (Relatives for Justice).

Tuesday 6 August

PJ McGrory Human Rights lecture – 7.30pm in St Mary’s University College. This year academic Fawaz Gerges (Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at LSE and author of The New Middle East: Social Protest and Revolution in the Arab World)

Wednesday 7 August

God or no God – The Religion Debate – 2.30pm in Roddy MacCorley Club. Athiest Jack Duffin and Fr Des Wilson debate God and religion.

West Belfast Youth Talks Back – 2pm in Whiterock leisure Centre. William Crawley chairs a discussion on “Social Media or a Social Burden” with a panel of Harriet Long (LGB&T advocacy officer and keen blogger), Eithne Gilligan (Voice of Young People in Care), Lyra McKee (online investigative journalist/The Muckraker) Wayne Denner (Digital Media expert) and PSNI Neighbourhood Constables Tony Allen and Ricki Rintoul. Updatelisten back to the event.

West Belfast Talks Back – 7.30pm in St Louise’s Comprehensive College. This year’s political bunfight panel is chaired by Tara Mills and features: Peter Osborne (chair Parades Commission & former chair of Alliance); Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein TD & vice president), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour MP) and Mike Nesbitt (UUP leader). Let’s hope it’s more edifying than last year’s George Galloway-dominated event featured a relatively reserved Gregory Campbell. Updateposted about the event, including the audio.

Just a Prisoner’s Wife – 9pm in Andersonstown Social Club is a 1996 play written by wives, mothers, daughters of prisoners as well as women ex-prisoners telling their harrowing experiences with a smidgeon of black humour. £8.

Thursday 8 August

From Cream Buns to Hollywood: Paul Tweed – noon in St Mary’s University College. The Belfast solicitor who has never lost a libel case will no doubt address the NI Executive’s approach to libel reform.

The Future of the Catholic Church in Ireland – 1.30pm in St Mary’s University College. Debate with Fr Tim Bartlett and Patsy McGarry (The Irish Times religious affairs correspondent), chaired by Pat Coyle.

Friday 9 August

The Shankill’s Independent Unionists – 11am at Shankill Library. Historian Jim McDermott explores the Shankill’s history of representation by independent unionist politicians including MP Tommy Henderson.

Also check out Bronagh Lawson’s installation in the disused church on Northumberland Street. For the last four years Bronagh has attended 170 religious services (in different places). Her exhibition Man’s Interference/Nurturing of the Divine explores her experiences. Open 20pm-6pm until Sunday 11 August.

Whispering Belfast is a puppet exhibition in the Ulster Museum, Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Audio narrative of characters which have been uniquely shaped by past or present secret conversations, hushed voices and withdrawn attitudes.

As usual there are also cemetery tours and political tours.

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