Brendan Donaghy has worked for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive since 1988. In 2000, he was appointed Mediation Development Officer and was seconded for 18 months to Mediation Northern Ireland, an independent mediation NGO. In the course of the secondment, he trained as a mediator and worked with Mediation Northern Ireland personnel on a range of disputes. He returned to the Housing Executive in 2002 and set up that organisation's in house mediation service. The service is offered free of charge to tenants of the organisation who find themselves in dispute with a neighbour. Since it was set up, over 700 people have received help with their dispute. In addition, the mediation service has delivered training on principles of conflict resolution to nearly 450 staff of the Housing Executive, as well as to staff from other organisations which work closely with the Housing Executive. Brendan is a part time conciliator with the Disability Conciliation Service of Northern Ireland. He holds a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies from Birkbeck College, University Of London and an honours degree in English from the University of Leeds. He is married with one son and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Constructive Ambiguity In Neighbour – Neighbour Mediation(10/06/08)
The term ‘constructive ambiguity’ is often attributed to Henry Kissinger and is a negotiating tactic used to cover up areas of disagreement or to save face of those taking part in negotiations. It is a technique most often seen in the context of international affairs, but can the same tactic be used in the less exalted surrounds of a neighbour – neighbour dispute? And if it can, is its use an example of good practice or superficiality in mediation?
From Brendan Donaghy
Congratulations to all at Mediate.com Newsletter on reaching your 200th
issue. By providing a space for reflection and a platform for debate,
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next 200 issues.
Bad Apples, Bad Barrels(08/20/07)
Is the focus on relationship and empowerment the correct approach in all circumstances? What if the causes of conflict are not always in the relationship, but in the environmental context in which that relationship exists? What if, as a consequence of this, empowerment of individuals through mediation is not always possible, as the individuals concerned have limited control over the issues at the core of their dispute?
What is Mediation?(06/10/07)
Asking a bunch of mediators what mediation is may sound like I’m inviting a statement of the obvious, so let me put it another way. What is it we do? My problem is that all too often the answer to that question seems to focus on how we do stuff, rather than on what we actually provide. For an example of what I mean, type the question into your search engine. You’ll get chapter and verse on how mediators stay neutral, impartial and independent, how we facilitate win – win outcomes, how we offer a flexible process, how we guard the confidentiality of the process with our lives, etc, etc, etc. I’m not saying these things aren’t important. I just worry that sometimes we concentrate too much on the principles and ethics surrounding mediation and, as a result, lose sight of what we should be doing. Which brings me back to my question: what is it we actually do?