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Abstracts on Organisations - 'P'

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Compiled: Martin Melaugh ... Additional Material: Brendan Lynn and Fionnuala McKenna
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

initial letter of the name of the organisation


The Panel of Parties in the NI Executive on parades and protests; flags, symbols and emblems, and related matters; and the past
synonyms: Haass Panel; Haass Talks
The Panel of Parties in the NI Executive was an independently-chaired panel created in July 2013. The Chair of the Panel was Ambassador Richard N. Haass and the vice chair Dr Meghan L. O'Sullivan. The terms of reference for the Panel were published on 16 August 2013 [PDF; 34KB]. Perhaps mindful of the slow progress of other political talks and initiatives in the past, the Haass team set a very tight deadline of providing recommendations to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMdFM) before the end of December 2013. The Panel met with representatives of political parties, and with groups and members of civil society, at various dates during 2013. The Panel also accepted written submissions from all interested parties. By late November 2013 the Panel confirmed that they had received over 600 documents. Haass and O'Sullivan produced a number of proposed agreements, the last version of which was dated 31 December 2013 and was subsequently published. However, the Haass team were unable to achieve agreement from all the political parties. It was reported that it was the unionist parties (the DUP and the UUP) who felt unable to sign the proposed Haass agreement. The UUP officially rejected the proposed agreement at a meeting on 5 January 2014.
Haass, Richard., and O'Sullivan, Meghan. (2014). Factsheet on the Draft Agreement of 31 December 2013, (Haass Talks), (6 January 2014), [PDF; 245KB]. Belfast: OFMdFM.
The Panel of Parties in the NI Executive. (2013). Proposed Agreement, 31 December 2013: An Agreement Among the Parties of the Northern Ireland Executive, (Haass Talks, Proposed Agreement), [PDF; 197KB]. Belfast: OFMdFM.
Haass, Richard. (2014). Remarks by Richard N. Haass, on the occasion of receiving the 2013 Tipperary Peace Award, Tipperary, Ireland, (23 June 2014), [PDF; 53KB]. Belfast: OFMdFM.
Haass, Richard., and O'Sullivan, Meghan. (2013). Article by Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan, The Belfast Telegraph, (Haass Talks), (27 December 2013). Belfast: The Belfast Telegraph.
[Web Site]

Parades Commission (PC)
The Parades Commission was established in late 1997 following the recommendations of the North Report. The Commission has two main roles, the first is to try to mediate between those who wish to march through particular areas and those who are opposed to such marches, and the second is to arbitrate on marches where no agreement could be reached. Although the Commission makes an initial ruling on parades, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) can overturn any decision on public order grounds. The Commission made its first decisions during Easter 1998. When first established the Parades Commission was composed of seven members. Chairman Alistair Graham; David Hewitt, a Belfast solicitor; Frank Guckian, former director of Derry Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Barbara Erwin, a senior lecturer and Vice-Chair of the Women's Forum, from county Down ; Mr. William Martin from county Down, a farmer and former member of the Police Authority (1991-1997); Aiden Canavan, a lawyer; and Rose Anne McCormick, a lawyer. Alistair Graham was replaced as Chairman by Tony Holland. A review of the working of the Parades Commission was announced in 2001. The review was headed by George Quigley (Sir) and his report [PDF; 969KB] was published on 27 September 2002. A Draft Order [PDF; 114KB], The Public Processions (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005, to increase the powers of the Parades Commission was published on 22 February 2005.
List of Parades Commission publications
[Web Site]

Parents And Kids Together (PAKT)
A family and community project established in 1993 in Lurgan, County Armagh. The group organises a range of developmental activities for parents, children, and the family. Among these activities is a community relations element.

Parker Committee
A committee, led by Lord Parker, which in 1972 reported on the methods used by the security forces in interrogating detainees in Northern Ireland. Two members of the committee, Lord Parker and John Boyd-Carpenter, held that the interrogation techniques could be justified in exceptional circumstances, but the third member, Lord Gardiner, say that such methods were not morally justifiable.
(see: Report of the Parker Committee)

Pat Finucane Centre (PFC)
A human rights and political development organisation based in Derry. The group was originally founded in 1989 as the Bloody Sunday Initiative and in 1993 changed its name to the PFC. Pat Finucane was a lawyer based in Belfast who defended a number of Republicans facing charges arising out of the conflict. He was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries, the Ulster Defence Association / Ulster Freedom Fighters, on 12 February 1989 amidst allegations of collusion between the security forces and Loyalists. The PFC aims include: the promotion by non-violent means the creation of an independent, pluralistic, democratic and non-sectarian Ireland; the promotion of understanding and respect for human rights; the encouragement of community development, community relations, conflict resolution and non-violent social change. The PFC provides resources and services to a number of groups including: Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, Relatives for Justice, Bogside Residents Group.
[Web Site]

Pax Christi International (PCI)
An international Catholic peace movement founded in France near the end of the Second World War. Pax Christi Ireland was established in 1967 and Pax Christi Belfast was set up in 1982. Aims include: the promotion of Christian teaching on peace and justice; the establishment of peace through justice; the promotion of reconciliation; the education and training of peace leaders in dealing with conflict through non-violent means.
[Web Site]

Peace '93
An initiative set up in Dublin in March 1993 in the aftermath of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombing of a shopping area of Warrington, England. Two young boys, aged three and twelve, died in the explosion and there was a huge emotional response in the Republic of Ireland. A large rally was held in Dublin and other rallies were held in London, Limerick and Galway. The main organiser of the first Dublin rally was Susan McHugh, a Dublin housewife and mother. Some commentators remarked on the lack of response to the deaths of children in Northern Ireland.

Peace Committee (PC)
Founded in 1976 with the merger of the Churches for Peace Group and the Trade Union for Peace Group. The Committee aims: to promote understanding between all sections of Northern Ireland society; to further reconciliation; relieve distress; pursue human rights in the region.

Peace People (PP)
synonyms: Community of the Peace People; Northern Ireland Peace People
The organisation was established in 1976 following the death of three young children. A car, which contained members of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit, was shot at by members of the British Army and the car mounted the pavement killing the three Maguire children. There was a large outcry among people in Northern Ireland who joined marches for peace. Out of this initial reaction the Peace People was born. The three founders of the organisation were Mairead Corrigan (now Mairead Corrigan-Maguire), Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown.
The Peace People advocated non-violence as the best means to resolve conflict. The organisation is involved in youth, welfare, and justice work. In 1976 two of the founder members Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The organisation received substantial aid from Norway, Germany, and the United States of America.
[Web Site]
[additional information]

Peace Pledge Ireland Campaign (PPIC)
A group established in 1989 to promote, on an all-Ireland basis, ecumenical community events. Organises Irish History lecture groups and assists in the publication of peacemaking publications.

Peace Train Organisation
A group that was established in the late 1980s. It was set up in response to what was seen as Irish Republican Army (IRA) efforts to disrupt the rail link between Belfast and Dublin. Members of the peace group travelled to and from Belfast and Dublin on specially chartered trains. The chairman was Sam McAughtry, a writer and broadcaster who later became a member of the Irish Senate.

Peace and Reconciliation Group (PRG)
Was originally founded in Derry in 1976 as a local group of the Peace People. In 1978 the PRG became an independent organisation so that it could work more effectively in the local context of Derry. PRG seeks to: rebuild trust, confidence and understanding between communities; reduction of fear and tension at a personal and community level. The group provides support and resources to existing community relations activities as well as new ones.
(See also: Peace People.)

Peace and Reconciliation Inter-Schools Movement (PRISM)
A movement formed in 1982, following an initiative by the then Minister of Education for Northern Ireland, to encourage young people from different backgrounds and communities to meet socially and exchanges views. The group aims to challenge how six-form students perceive themselves, their own prejudices and intolerance and how they perceive others. After school meeting are held every few weeks and residential meetings are held a few times a year.

People's Democracy (PD)
The PD was formed on 9 October 1968 following the events at the Derry March on 5 October 1968. The PD was a left-wing radical group which was formed by students at the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB). On 9 October 1968 2,000 students from the QUB tried to march to Belfast City Hall to protest against 'police brutality' in Derry, and to call for the repeal of the Special Powers Act. The marched was blocked by a counter demonstration led by Ian Paisley. A three-hour sit-down demonstration followed the blocking of the march. Later in the evening the PD organisation was formed. PD became an important force in the civil rights movement and a number of those who were leading members in the organisation, for example Bernadette Devlin and Michael Farrell, became prominent political activists. PD also organised a four day march from Belfast to Derry. The march passed through many 'Protestant areas' and it was attacked by extreme Loyalists at a number of points along the route. The most serious was at Burntollet Bridge, County Derry, where 200 Loyalists ambushed the march with the result that 13 marchers needed hospital treatment. The PD took part in a number of elections up to 1982.

List of People's Democracy publications

See also:
Arthur, Paul. (1974). The People's Democracy 1968-73. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Chapter 6, in, Purdie, Bob. (1990). 'Politics in the Streets: The origins of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland'. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.

People's Liberation Army (PLA)
synonyms: Irish National Liberation Army
(See: Irish National Liberation Army, INLA.)

People's Progressive Party (PPP)

Performing Arts North (PAN)
A group established in 1991 to develop community relations projects using various art forms. Music, drama, and the visual arts are used as a vehicle to encourage respect for cultural diversity.

Phoenix Youth and Community Projects (PYCP)
A group set up in 1981 to try to combat youth unemployment, alcohol abuse, and sectarianism in the Lurgan area in the 1980s. Aims include: create employment; develop social care programmes; foster peace and reconciliation work; foster community development work.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI)
The office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) was established (on 3 November 2000) under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 to provide an independent impartial police complaints service in which the public and the police have confidence. The office of the Police Ombudsman has more than 100 staff, and is the only completely independent police complaints investigation unit in the United Kingdom. The Police Ombudsman is appointed for a period of seven years.
The first Police Ombudsman was Nuala O'Loan. She began as Police Ombudsman Designate early in 2000. After preliminary work the office of the PONI was opened in New Cathedral Buildings, Belfast, on 3 November 2000. O'Loan's tenure ended on 6 November 2007.
O'Loan was replaced by Al Hutchinson. There were complaints that under the leadership of Hutchinson the office of Police Ombudsman had lost some of its independence due to political interference. It was also alleged that draft historical reports, critical of the RUC, were amended to reduce such criticism before publication. Three reports about the working of the office of Police Ombudsman were published in 2011 (McCusker report; CAJ report; and CJINI report). Following the criticism, Hutchinson announced that he would stand down in January 2012.
Dr Michael Maguire took over the role of Police Ombudsman on 17 July 2012.
Mrs Marie Anderson was appointed Police Ombudsman in July 2019.
List of some PONI publications
[Web Site]

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
synonyms: The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Incorporating the Royal Ulster Constabulary)
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is the new name given to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The change to the name of the RUC took effect on Sunday 4 November 2001. The name change was one of the recommendations of the report of the Patten Commission on the future of policing which was published on 9 September 1999.
(See also: Royal Ulster Constabulary, RUC.)

Positive Action for Innocent Victims in North Down
An organisation set up to support victims of the conflict. (xx)
(See: Details on victims organisations.)

Prayer Enterprise And Christian Effort (PEACE)
Established in 1974 in Cork, Republic of Ireland, to promote prayer and peace and reconciliation in Ireland.

(See: Peace and Reconciliation Inter-Schools Movement.)

Progressive Democratic Party (PD)
synonyms: Progressive Democrats; PDs
One of the smaller political parties in the Republic of Ireland it is more commonly referred to as the Progressive Democrats. The party was founded by Desmond O'Malley in 1985. Since its formation the party has been in government on three occasions (1989-92, 1997-2002 and 2002-present) as a junior coalition partner with Fianna Fáil (FF). O'Malley took part, on behalf of the Irish Government, in the Brooke-Mayhew talks during 1992.
[Web Site]

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP)
A small Loyalist political party which has links with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The party was formed in 1979 out of the Independent Unionist Group which had been set up the previous year. Hugh Smyth was one of the founding members. The PUP became more prominent during the 1990s when the party emerged as the political voice of the UVF particularly in the wake of the ceasefire called by the Combined Loyalist Military Command in October 1994. As such it contested the elections to the Northern Ireland Forum in May 1996 and won two seats. This allowed the PUP to participate in the multi-party talks which began in July 1996 and which culminated in April 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). In spite of the unease of many within the unionist community the PUP campaigned for a 'Yes' vote in the referendum of May 1998. A month later it gained two seats in the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly in June 1998 and during the life span of the Assembly (1998-2003) the party remained largely supportive of the GFA. In April 2002 David Ervine was chosen to replace Hugh Smyth as leader of the PUP and led it into the Assembly elections in November 2003, where it managed to win one seat.

Garland, Roy. (2001), Gusty Spence. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Sinterton, Henry. (2002), David Ervine. Dublin: Brandon.

[Web Site]

Project Children
A holiday scheme established in the United States of America in 1975 by Denis Mulcahy and Pat Mulcahy (brothers). Like other such schemes the project involved giving Catholic and Protestant children from Northern Ireland a holiday in the USA.
Smith, A., and Murray, D. (1993). The Chance of a Lifetime, An Evaluation of Project Children. Coleraine: University of Ulster. ... [1723]
[Web Site]

Project Portadown
A project set up in 1990, following the breakdown of relations in the Portadown area, with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding between the communities in the area.

Protestant Action Force (PAF)
synonyms: Protestant Action Group, Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Both the Protestant Action Force (PAF) and the Protestant Action Group (PAG) were cover-names used by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to avoid directly claiming responsibility for killings and other acts of violence. The names were first used during the early 1970s.

Protestant And Catholic Encounter (PACE)
A group established in 1968 in response to the outbreak of conflict in Northern Ireland. The main aims are: to promote harmony and goodwill between communities; to demonstrate that there are many activities that people can take part in to work together for the common good; to work will those who desire the establishment of a social order based upon justice and charity, and enlivened by mutual respect and understanding. In addition to a central group there are ten branches across the region.

Protestant Task Force (PTF)
A small Loyalist paramilitary group that was active during the 1970s. The PTF killed a number of Catholics who it claimed were associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The PTF claimed that its membership was restricted to ex-servicemen and the group had no connections to any other Loyalist paramilitary group.

Protestant Unionist Party (PUP)
A political party led by Ian Paisley in the 1960s which dissolved in favour of the Democratic Unionist Party in 1971. In June 1970 Paisley won the North Antrim seat in the Westminster election.
(See also: Democratic Unionist Party.)

Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF)
synonyms: Sinn Féin
(See: Sinn Féin.)

Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)
synonyms: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
(See: Irish Republican Army.)

(xx)     Indicates that an entry is being prepared.
(?)     Information is a best estimate while awaiting an update.
(??)     Information is doubtful and is awaiting an update.
[Main Entry]     Indicates that a longer separate entry is planned in the future.

For related and background information see also:

  • The list of acronyms associated with 'the Troubles'.
  • The glossary of terms related to the conflict.
  • The biographies of people who were prominent during 'the Troubles'.
  • The chronology of the conflict.

The information in the abstracts has been compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources. The best general sources for additional information are:

initial letter of the name of the organisation

CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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