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This year, the West Belfast Festival – Féile an Phobail hosts 75 discussions and debates, with a number of expert staff from the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University taking part in the following discussions and debates.

Based in the heart of West Belfast, Féile an Phobail (Festival of the People) provides a year round programme of arts, cultural and community-based activities throughout the year with the flagship festival, the August Féile (Festival) being the highlight of Ireland’s festival calendar. Its purpose was to celebrate the positive side of the community, its creativity, its energy, its passion for the arts, and for sport.

  1. Friday 3 August 2018 at 3:00pm
    Venue: St Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE
    Event: Time for Truth
    A discussion on the legacy of our recent conflict will be chaired by Jude Whyte whose mother was killed by a UVF bomb alongside an RUC officer at her home. Jude will outline the development of the Time for Truth campaign and its key strategic objectives.
    Panel: Eilish Rooney, University of Ulster, Niall Murphy, human rights solicitor, and Emma Rogan, whose father was shot dead in the Loughinisland massacre, will outline their perspectives on the search for truth for all victim’s families who lost loved ones during the conflict.
  2. Saturday 4 August 2018 at 3:00pm
    Venue: St Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE
    Event: The Good Friday Agreement: The Women in the Room
    In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed forming the basis for political stability and for conflict resolution. While commemorative events have focussed on main players from that time there has been a neglect of the voices of women who were critical to the Agreement. This unique event will speak to some of the women from all parties who were a key part of the development, signing and persuading involved in the signing of the Peace Agreement. While there have been significant change and transformation much remains to be implemented. This event will focus on their roles and reflections twenty years on.
    Contributors: Professor Monica McWilliams,Women’s Coalition, Bríd Rodgers SDLP, Dawn Purvis PUP and Michelle O’Neill Sinn Féin. As part of the conversation there will be a recognition of the role of the then British Secretary of State Mo Mowlam from Labour MP Harriet Harmon.
  3. Monday 6 August 2018 at 3:00pm.
    Venue: St. Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE.
    Event: Twenty Years on and Still no Bill of Rights
    It is the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and also 10 years from the submission of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s advice on a Bill of Rights. Many of the human rights and equality promises of peace remain undelivered. Brexit makes this reality an even more serious practical problem for anyone concerned with building a fair and inclusive shared society.
    Colin Harvey and Dr. Anne Smith (Ulster University) will reflect on a research project aimed at progressing the Bill of Rights and will outline ways forward for this significant constitutional project.
  4. Monday 6 August 2018 at 5:00pm.
    Venue: St Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE
    Event: Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right
    Are European states colluding with the growth of fascism? Influenced by campaigns in the north of Ireland against state collusion, Liz Fekete, Institute of Race Relations, set out to study the relationship between far-Right groups in Europe, covert policing and institutional racism. She is the author of Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right (Verso, 2018).
    Liz Fekete, Institute of Race Relations, in conversation with Professor Bill Rolston, Ulster University.
  5. Tuesday 7 August 2018 at 3:00pm.
    Venue: St Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE
    Event: Stuck in the Past
    A presentation and discussion on the proposed legacy mechanisms from the Stormont House Agreement. Will investigations and information retrieval bring us any closer to the truth of our conflict? Our Panellists from Republican, Loyalist and policing backgrounds will debate that question and will tell us what they think is possible in the present.
    Confirmed participants include Seán Murray, Winston Irvine and PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton. The event will include contributions from Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson, and legacy specialist Professor Louise Mallinder, Ulster University. The Chair is Journalist and Author Barney Rowan.
  6. Saturday 11 August 2018 at 1:00pm
    Venue: St Mary’s University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FE
    Event: Jonathan Powell in conversation
    Jonathan Powell was the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff and main negotiator with all the political parties in the north between 1997 and 2007. He was intimately involved in all of the main negotiations during this period including the Good Friday Agreement. He was also part of and party to the decision by Tony Blair to invade Iraq and has for the last number of years been involved in the Basque peace process. He will look back on these and other events. The Chair is Eilish Rooney, Ulster University.

For more information on these events, go to