Category Archives: Members’ Publications

Update on the review of the Copyright legislation by the Copyright Review Committee

“An independent Copyright Review Committee was established on 9 May, 2011 to examine the existing Irish copyright and legislative framework to identify any areas that might be deemed to create barriers to innovation and to make recommendations to resolve any problems identified.

The Review Committee conducted an initial consultation during the summer of 2011 and received in the region of 100 submissions from a broad spectrum of interested parties.  The Review Committee published a comprehensive discussion document on 29 February, 2012 which examined the current copyright legislative framework and sets out the issues and concerns which were expressed in the aforementioned submissions.  A public meeting was held on 24th March 2012.

In its discussion document the Committee identified various options to address these concerns in the light of its Terms of Reference and raised a number of key questions for consideration.

Further submissions were invited from all those affected or concerned by the issues raised including information providers and ISPs, innovators, rights-holders, consumers and end-users. The deadline for the receipt of submissions in response to this consultation was 29 June, 2012 (this deadline was extended on two separate occasions i.e. from 13April and 31 May as a result of a large number of requests for extensions). The Review Committee has received in the region of 180 submissions in response to the consultation.  The Department are currently in the process of publishing these submissions on the Copyright Review website and they can be viewed at the following link:

These submissions are being evaluated by the Review Committee and a final Report will be prepared setting out any recommendations for legislative change, including change at EU level, if required.” Published Department of  Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation , 30/07/2012.

EDIT , Irish TImes 31/07/2012

“CHANGES TO the Irish copyright regime could facilitate innovation and still ensure rights holders are rewarded for their ideas, Facebook has said in its submission to a body examining copyright issues for the Government.

The social networking company told the Copyright Review Committee that its operations in Ireland had not been “materially inhibited” by Irish copyright law.

However, it said there were lessons to be learned from the US regime in relation to issues such as protecting service providers from liability for content posted by their users and that exceptions provided for in the Irish copyright regime should be more flexible.”


For a list of submissions and information regarding the submissions process, the headings of the review, and issues pertinent to rights-holders,  please visit the following link ,

For further information please contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, 01 6312200,



News: MEXICO G20 – Open Letter to Journalists

The G20 Summit will take place in Mexico on the 18 and 19 June 2012. PEN International has written an open letter to journalists covering the event. We ask them, that in the course of their reporting, they raise the issue of the violence suffered by journalists and writers in Mexico, and of the impunity enjoyed by those who commit these crimes.

Please see the text of the letter below. A PDF copy is available here: Mexico G20 eng pdf

G20 Summit, Mexico, 18-19 June 2012:
An Open Letter to Journalists and Writers

Dear Colleagues,

We write to you on behalf of PEN International, the global writers and free expression organisation with over 100 centres worldwide.

We ask you, as fellow journalists and writers, to remember your murdered and disappeared Mexican colleagues when you report on this year’s G20 Summit in Mexico.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practise journalism. Since 2000, more than 80 writers, journalists and bloggers have been killed in connection to their work, and another 15 have disappeared. Many of these journalists reported on organized crime and corruption; few of their deaths have been investigated properly. There have been only a handful of convictions.

Despite the introduction of two mechanisms aimed at protecting journalists under threat, and the creation, in 2006, of the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression, the rate at which journalists are being killed has increased rather than diminished.

In the first six months of 2012, seven writers have been murdered.

The almost 100% impunity enjoyed by those who kill or threaten journalists in Mexico owes much of its existence to the corruption and inertia that are so prevalent throughout the Mexican states. Police and employees of local administrations are often implicated in attacks on journalists, and, as the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression publicly recognised in March 2012, threats to journalists’ right to free expression often come directly from the state authorities themselves.

In January, the International President and the International Secretary of PEN International led a delegation to Mexico comprising writers from our North American, European and Asian PEN centres, to raise international awareness of the violence suffered there by writers and journalists. The delegation met with, among others, the Mayor of Mexico City, the Minister of the Interior, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression and the President of the Senate.

The PEN delegation called for an end to the climate of impunity, and on the Mexican Senate to approve an amendment to the Constitution that would make all attacks on journalists federal crimes. This amendment was passed in March 2012; it now needs to be approved by a majority of the states for it to become law.

However, Mexico’s commitment to freedom of expression will not be measured by legislation, but by a reduction in the number of attacks on journalists and writers, by the prosecution and conviction of those responsible for these crimes, and by tackling corruption.

PEN International asks you – in an act of solidarity with your murdered and disappeared colleagues – to raise the issue of Mexico’s climate of impunity in your coverage of the G20 summit in June.

Yours Sincerely,

John Ralston Saul
International President

Hori Takeaki
International Secretary

Marian Botsford Fraser
Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee

Press Contacts:
John Ralston Saul, International President, 00 1 416-964-2313
Cathal Sheerin 00 44 (0)20 7405 0338

This post is also available in: French, Spanish

Calling a halt to the killings in Syria, letter to the Irish Times.

The following letter was published in the Irish Times on the 28th of April 2012.

Sir, – Credible reports that Syrian security forces have murdered people who have had contact with UN monitors represent a challenge to all of us. The United Nations acts in our name. If silence represents complicity in the face of crimes against humanity, allowing the UN to be used to select people for summary execution makes us even more culpable, unless we take action to stop the killing.The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, even before these most recent crimes, had called for the referral of the Assad regime to theInternational Criminal Court.

In the light of the string of recent atrocities, that makes a mockery of efforts to secure peace in Syria, surely the Dáil and Seanad will demand such action in an urgent resolution, and request the Minister for Foreign Affairs to seek to lobby the Security Council to act.

Thousands have died as tanks and artillery have indiscriminately shelled besieged cities and snipers have targeted peaceful protesters. But the most egregious aspect of the Assad regime’s response has been the callous and indiscriminate targeting of children.

Lois Whitman, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, has stated: “Syrian security forces have killed, arrested, and tortured children in their homes, their schools, or on the streets. In many cases, security forces have targeted children just as they have targeted adults.. It’s clear from the brutal methods used against children that Syrian security forces show child detainees no mercy . . . We fear that children will continue to face horrendous punishment in detention until Syrian officials understand they will pay a price for such abuse.”

If we fail to act, we may condemn thousands, including who knows how many children, to torture and death. The heart-rending memorial on April 6th in Sarajevo commemorating the outbreak of war, and which highlighted the deaths of more than 1,000 children in the indiscriminate slaughter of the siege, is a compelling reminder of how real that threat is in Syria. – Yours, etc,


(from , The Irish Times , 28/04/2012)

A letter from our membership secretary.

– The Irish PEN AGM takes place at the UAC at 7p.m., Thursday May 10th –
– Members’ news – send us news of this year’s publications, launches and events –
– Writing Memoir event: 8p.m. at the UAC on Thursday, May 10th –

Emer Liston , Irish PEN Membership Secretary


” We have had a very eventful and successful year at Irish PEN. From our first event after the summer, Writing for children and young people, through to our Annual PEN Award Dinner at which Joseph O’Connor’s outstanding achievement in literature was marked by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, we’ve enjoyed great company and rich discussion about the work of writing in Ireland today.

At our most recent event, we enjoyed the company of Morgan Llewellyn and Orna Ross in an evening of stories and insight into Historical Fiction and a feast of talent is in store on the 10th of this month, when we look at Writing Memoir, with Molly McCloskey, Lia Mills, Sheila Maher and John MacKenna. This event is proving very popular, and you can conveniently book your place online by clicking here.

Our news section in will keep you up to date on our participation in campaigns and letters to publications here in Ireland, including our campaign on blasphemy, and correspondence calling for action in Syria, published in last weekend’s Irish Times.  Meanwhile, please let us know about your news this year – we are compiling our latest newsletter and wish to feature and promote new publications, launches and the successes of all members and associates of PEN. 


Finally, and most importantly, our AGM takes place immediately before our Writing Memoir event, at 7 p.m. on May 10th, at the United Arts Club. All members are most welcome to attend.

We look forward to meeting you next Thursday, and hearing your news.”

Warmest regards,
Emer Liston,  Membership Secretary at Irish PEN.


Details of our Next Event are carried on our homepage and at this link

Irish PEN membership and renewal details are available here

Open afternoon for writers on Saturday 31st March at the Irish Writers Centre

Organised by the Irish Writers Union

Free Open Afternoon Workshops

All are welcome

When :  2-4:30pm, Saturday 31 March

Where :  Irish Writers Centre

      19 Parnell Square,

      .Dublin 2

2- 2:30          LECTURE:   ‘Copyright Law in Ireland’

A talk by Ronan Sheehan, novelist and solicitor, co-founder of Irish Writers Co-op.

2:30-2:45 –   questions and comments from the attendees; organise workshops

3 -3:45 pm – WORKSHOPS : 
join a facilitated workshop on one of the following:

A. Children’s Literature – facilitated by Conor Kostick

B. Irish Language Writing- facilitated by Alan Titley

C. Pros and Cons of Internet publishing/social media/blogs for  writers – facilitated by Chris Murray, webmaster for PEN

D. Performance poetry and innovative forms of writing – facilitated by poet Máighréad Medbh

3:45-4pm each group sum up the key discussion points and any conclusions

4-4:30pm: Brief reports back from workshops to total group

This event is organised by the Irish Writer’s Union and is an open event,  for more information please contact :  Irish Writers’ Union, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

PH 086 233 00 84

Email ,

Updates from the Copyright Review Committee 2012

As the title of the post says, this post has three updates about the work of  the Copyright Review Committee. First, following a large number of requests for an extension of time to reply to the Committee’s Consultation Paper, the Committee has decided to extend the deadline for receipt of submissions to 5.00pm on Thursday 31 May 2012. Second, the text to three of the questions on the first page of the Committee’s online questionnaire has been updated to confirm that certain information provided by respondents (such as postal address, email address, and website) will not be published.”

Those members and associates of Irish PEN with an interest in the work of the Copyright Review Committee 2012 should take note that the deadline for submissions has been extended to May the 31st 2012.

Links and Information regarding how to submit and upcoming public meetings on copyright reform is available here , 

  • email the Review,
  • write to Copyright Review, Room 517, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, or
  • complete the Committee’s online questionnaire and answer the last question by confirming that you wish to attend the meeting.

The bulk of information and links to this review are constantly updated in the website


Gernika at 75 years , a note from Euskal PEN

Guernica,1937 , by Pablo Picasso, copyright the Picasso Estate

26 April 2012 will be the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the town of Gernika, Spain, by the Nazi Legion-Condor aiding General Franco against the democratic Republic.

Basque PEN Club invites writers all around the world to send us poems to remember Gernika and ‘Other Gernikas’, as the Remembrance Day has been declared. Poems related to Gernika or other Gernikas around the world should be sent before 31 March, in the original language and a translation into Basque, English, German, French or Spanish; a short introduction of the author or the poem is welcomed. Poems will be published and read during the Remembrance Day Events. Send your poems to or Euskal PEN/Basque PEN

Agoitz Plaza, 1
E48015 Bilbao
Basque Country


International PEN , 

Euskal  PEN Clubba ,


Remarks by President Michael D. Higgins at the presentation of the Irish PEN Award for Literature to Joseph O’Connor


Remarks by President Michael D. Higgins at the presentation of the Irish PEN Award for Literature to Joseph O’Connor


Friday, 10th February 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen:


I am absolutely delighted to be here tonight at the Irish PEN award for literature, and I would like to thank Joe Armstrong, the Chair of Irish PEN, for his kind invitation to join you all here this evening.


The work of the writer we honour this evening is replete with themes and issues that go to the heart of personal dignity and human decency. The symbolic empty chair reminds us all that many writers around the world still struggle for the freedom to address those issues and pay a high personal price for their commitment to truth and free speech. As we enjoy our evening, and happily celebrate the achievements of the writer we are honouring, we also remember all our fellow writers for whom PEN continues to hold a torch of concern and solidarity.


Cé gur tír bheag í Éire bhíomar ar thús cadhnaíochta sna réimsí ealaíon agus cultúir i gcónaí. Chuireamar go mór le domhan na litríochta ach go háirithe agus bronnadh Duais Nobel na Litríochta ar scríbhneoirí Éireannacha ceithre huaire.


Many, many more Irish writers have featured, and continue to feature, on prestigious shortlists for literary awards around the world. Tonight, I am truly delighted to be joining you to honour one of those great Irish diplomats of literature, renowned abroad and loved at home as one of our greatest and most popular contemporary writers.


I have always been struck by Joseph O’Connor’s tale of how, in one evening of what he described as ‘dismal hopelessness’, he found himself copying, word for word the text of John McGahern’s short story ‘Sierra Leone’ simply to ease the ache of feeling unable to create a piece of work and put it down on paper. It is a feeling that all born writers will instantly recognise and Joseph O’Connor is truly a born writer.


Since those early days of yearning frustration he has, of course, gone from strength to strength, his brilliant novels winning awards, accolades and praise around the world.

He is a brilliant writer and an accessible one. He is an urban realist who also delves beautifully and imaginatively into a past that defines so much of our national character. He is a talented writer, and a truly courageous one, a writer who takes risks, who tries new things, who is determined to constantly stretch and challenge himself, who never ever takes his great and unique gift for granted.


With the publication of “Star of the Sea” in 2004 Joe both impressed and amazed the literary world. It is generally regarded as the novel that brought Joe to the admiring attention of a very wide and international readership. Described as ‘a missing link in the Irish literary tradition’ this novel reminds us of the searing reality of our national historical experience as Joseph bravely and imaginatively confronts that bleakest of bleak moments in our past to produce a work of astounding brilliance and originality.


Even before that ground breaking piece of work, Joseph had proved himself as a writer who allows us to discover ourselves and, through that discovery, to learn more about ourselves and the situations we must deal with.  This talent was evident from his very earliest novels:  “Cowboys and Indians” where he so brilliantly and poignantly depicted  the final moments of a pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland poised on the brink of change but still trapped in its own past, unaware of the seismic changes to our society and culture that were shortly to come; and “Desperados” where he moved between the decades, and indeed between Ireland and revolutionary Nicaragua, as he explored the necessity to understand our past and to face up to our mistakes in order to deal with current difficulties and sadness. With the apparent ease of the true novelist he forced us into a confrontation with ourselves as he captured the light, the darkness and the shadowed hues of a normal, complex, multi-faceted existence. His involvement with post dictatorshipNicaraguarejected the idealist impulse of his heart.


“Star of the Sea” and “RedemptionFalls” represented Joe’s thematic sojourn in theUnited Statesafter which he returned toIrelandfor the focus of his most recent novel. “Ghost Light” not only beautifully tells the story of a doomed love affair between John Millington Synge and Molly Allgood, it also evocatively captures the spirit of a society in crisis in all its political, cultural and social turmoil. In Molly Allgood Joe has surely depicted one of the most compelling female characters in modern literary fiction and her decline and death in the novel is unbearably moving. There is no doubt that Joe O’Connor is one of the brightest stars among a brilliant constellation of contemporary Irish writing.


We are, of course, living through very difficult days. At my inauguration, I said that our successes in the eyes of so many in the world have been in the cultural and spiritual areas – in our humanitarian, peace-building and human rights work; in our literature, art, drama and song; and in how that drama, song and literature have helped us cope with adversity, soothed the very pain which they describe so well, and opened the space for new possibilities.


When it comes to soothing our collective pain, Joe O’Connor has also done us all great service. Not only is Joe a very distinguished novelist, he is also a wonderful diarist and essayist. In previous years these were catalogued in the published diaries of a hapless young male who was struggling to make sense of life, love and – even more trying – his Irishness. In more recent years, Joe’s reflections on the issues “du jour” have been broadcast to the nation in the form of a radio diary. His preoccupations span the spectrum of life – politics, love, music, family, children, the extraordinarily creative way that Irish people use foul language and the propensity of Irish teenagers to use the word “like” in such a multi-functional manner.


Joe’s radio diaries may be satirical but it is a satire that is used for caring and constructive purposes. Underlying all of Joe’s broadcast reflections is a sense of a man who cares deeply about his country, who feels a profound empathy with his fellow citizens who are struggling through tough times, who values and respects the old decencies that were at the heart of community life in Ireland and who is determined to use his unique creative genius to imagine a future society that we can all be proud of and in which all our children can live, grow and prosper.


As a people and a country we are closing one sad chapter and opening another that we hope will lead to a new version of our Irishness; one that retains all that was best about our past but is founded on a new wisdom born out of disappointment, hurt and adversity, but also driven by a determination not to be paralysed by a cynical fatalism and by a positive commitment, in a spirit of active citizenship, to play our own individual part in renewing the Republic, strengthening the fabric our society and enhancing the quality of our community.


It is a chapter of new possibilities and, as a country, we are fortunate to have contemporary writers of the calibre of Joseph to chart this new chapter; writers who so beautifully and often so poignantly capture those important moments in our national psyche; the parts of our past that are key to our understanding of the society we live in and may wish to change; the complexity and the moral confusion of a rapidly and constantly changing Ireland;  and now the fragility of the aftershock and our great national courage as we gather our strength and move forward to a shared and better future.


Ba mhaith liom críoch a chur leis seo agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le Seosamh toisc gur roghnaíodh é don dámhachtain cháiliúil seo, ardghradam atá aige anois ar aon dul leis na scríbhneoirí Éireannacha is tábhachtaí agus is cáiliúla dá bhfuil ann. Is gradam é a chuireann Seosamh chun tosaigh mar cheann de na guthanna is tábhachtaí agus is mó tionchair i litríocht chomhaimseartha na hÉireann.


I am honoured to be here tonight to present this award to a writer I have long admired and am especially pleased to do so in the presence of Joe’s wife Anne Marie and his parents Seán and Viola. I wish Joseph every success in the future and look forward to reading more of his very brilliant work.


Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

Chair of Irish PEN, Joe Armstrong’s speech, at Irish PEN Award Ceremony, 10 February, 2012

Chair of Irish PEN, Joe Armstrong’s speech, at Irish PEN Award Ceremony, 10 February, 2012

I welcome President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, Joseph O’Connor and his wife Anne Marie Casey, and his parents, Sean and Viola O’Connor. I welcome the Director of PEN International, Laura McVeigh and her husband Howard, all our distinguished writers, publishers, members of the media, guests and friends, and each and every one of you. Thank you for being here tonight.


PEN promotes literature and defends free speech. The empty chair at tonight’s dinner symbolises the 888 writers who, during 2011, were killed, ‘disappeared’, imprisoned or were harassed solely because of their work.


Given our commitment to free speech, PEN campaigns to have blasphemy, which is repugnant to free speech, removed from the Irish Constitution and decriminalized. We welcome the Government’s commitment to review blasphemy in its promised constitutional convention.


I thank the Arts Council and Dublin City Arts Office for their ongoing support. I thank and Vanessa O’Loughlin for sponsoring the beautiful Irish PEN trophy for tonight’s event. I thank the Royal St George Yacht Club for hosting us at this lovely venue. I thank the Irish PEN Committee for all their hard and voluntary work throughout the year: Carol Robinson Tweed, Christine Murray, Emer Liston, Kay Boland, Máire Moriarty, Ruth Long, Tony Gaughan and Vanessa O’Loughlin. I thank the dinner subcommittee, Kay Boland, Ruth Long and Vanessa O’Loughlin for all their hard and painstaking work in preparing for tonight’s happy celebration.


I am delighted that Joseph O’Connor is to be presented with the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature and I heartily congratulate you, Joseph.


Finally – President Higgins – as well as being a poet and an author, you have long been a champion of human rights, an inclusive citizenship, a creative society and a real Republic – values central to the mission of PEN.


In any voluntary organisation, sometimes record-keeping isn’t the best and so I am delighted to renew the honorary membership of President Higgins and I now invite the President to speak.


A Call-Out to PEN Members , Celebrating Women's Literature for International Women's Day 2012

“In celebration of International Women’s Day (8th March) and PEN’s 90th anniversary, PEN International asks PEN members to nominate one piece of writing by a woman that has moved them, made a deep impression, or that they greatly admire. Nominations will be featured on our site as a tapestry of recommendations in recognition of literary achievements by women. Nominations may include women’s writing of any form, including poetry, essays, novels, short stories and speeches. Please email nominations to stating your name, your PEN Centre, the writer and title of the text you are nominating, and a brief sentence explaining why you have chosen this piece of writing. Deadline for nominations 29th February.”


And on International Women’s Day 8th March follow #womenwriters when @pen_int will be featuring quotes and news on women writers.