Ex-prisoner summer school in city this weekend

Republican ex-prisoners group Coiste na nIarchimí will host it annual summer school in Derry this weekend in the Tower Hotel. The conference will discuss a range of issues around ex-prisoners, poverty and social deprivation.

It will include panel discussions involving high-profile speakers including Education Minister John O’Dowd, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, and PUP deputy leader John Kyle.

It will also be addressed by high profile Belfast republican Séanna Walsh and loyalist ex-prisoner John Howcroft.

The conference will begin tonight with an address by Mr Walsh followed by a panel discussion on poverty in the 26 counties which will include anti-poverty activist Cathleen O’Neill and Sinn Féin spokesperson Eóin Ó Broin.

On Saturday there will be a discussion on why Derry, Strabane and north and west Belfast have such high levels of poverty which will include Mike Tomlinson from Queen’s University Belfast, Eilish Rooney from the University of Ulster, John O’Dowd and John Kyle.

Following that there will be a discussion on the barriers faced by ex-prisoners in society which will hear from Martina Anderson, Eibhlin Glenholmes, Féilim Ó hAdhmaill from UCC, and loyalist ex-prisoner John Howcroft.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Walsh, who was chosen to read out the IRA’s statement that its campaign was over on 2005, said; “It is particularly relevant that this event is held in Derry given what is happening to local ex-prisoner, Paul Kavanagh.”