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Media Mediation

Mediation is still little understood in terms of why and how it works by the pubic at large, so it is less than helpful when the media makes inaccurate comments about the cost and time involved.

In the reporting on the recent cervical smear controversy some media sources had suggested that the costs of mediation were far higher than reality.

Thankfully President of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland Sabine Walsh stepped up to say “The government’s proposed mediation process to help the women affected by the cervical check controversy has rightly received extensive coverage in the media.

“However, some of the coverage of how mediation operates has been misleading and inaccurate.

“For example, over the weekend some wildly inaccurate indications of the cost of mediation were broadcast. The reality is that the cost of mediated settlements is significantly lower than going to court, both in terms of fees and ancillary costs. Mediation is often scheduled for one day, and can be completed in this time, and is scheduled at a time convenient to the parties, which may be particularly important where the patient is suffering from a serious or terminal illness.”

“It is good to see that the Mediation Act, which came into force in January, is now demonstrating, as in the recent case of a successfully mediated settlement involving the birth of a Sligo boy, that it can deliver quality settlements. These are particularly difficult to achieve in cases that are complex and emotional.

“Contrary to some media comments made that mediation is a ‘difficult process’, mediation is a significantly less stressful process than being in court. It is a non-adversarial process, which places the parties’ needs and interests at its centre.

“Mediation provides, at an early opportunity, a ‘safe space’ for a patient and a medical professional to explore what has happened on an emotional and medical level, and look at what possible remedies are open to the patient. These remedies may go beyond what a court judgment can offer.”

Comments that Northwest Mediation can only endorse.

Meanwhile mediators continue in action across the world.

Dan Brock an historian in London (no not that London, the one in Ontario Canada) is appealing for mediation to help resolve the dispute over preservation of a fugitive slave chapel which was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Brock, who is also on the city’s advisory committee on heritage said “I’m very upset and concerned about this, because I think it’s just going to grind to a halt and nothing is going to be accomplished,”

The two sides in the argument are fronted by the leaders of the Beth Emmanuel Church and the (formally dissolved) steering committee charged with revitalizing the chapel.

The pastor of the chapel Delta McNeish has said the steering committee has gone beyond its remit in attempts to preserve the chapel and convert it into a place of learning about the slave trade and the local black community’s roots.

So far the City Council has refused to get involved simply suggesting that the London Advisory Committee on Heritage (LACH) solve the dispute out.

However the deadlock between committee and chapel leaders has led to Brock’s call for a mediator to step in.

More calls for the service of mediators in Connecticut where the Housatonic river remains in need of clean up by General Electric who are in the process of agreeing remediation for their pollution of the river with the American Environmental Protection Agency.

John Bickerman (attorney) has been chosen by mutual agreement to conduct the mediation and he will begin with a fact finding process.

The river has been polluted since the 1930s when GE’s processes led to leaching of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the river and surrounding basin.

What little remains of fish and fowl in the area are poisonous to eat and the PCBs may well be cancer causing in humans.

Following GE’s partially successful appeal to the Environmental Appeals Board senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren as well as congressman Richard Neal have all supported the EPAs decision to insist on properly regulated disposal of the contaminated waste off site, rather than GE’s preferred on site disposal.

Given the historic damage done by the on site disposal we can see how the EPA would be reluctant to allow GE to continue to deal with their own waste.

No doubt with a skilled mediator they will be able to reach a conclusion which balances the need for safe disposal and remedial action with the economic reality of the cost of off site waste disposal.

Bickerman is familiar with the issues involved having first been called upon to assist in what might be considered round one of the process in 2016.

Finally in Papua New Guinea where peace talks have been ongoing between Tari tribes mediated by Hela’s Police Commander Martin Lakari. The murder of a dozen people had led to international aid efforts being withdrawn which impacted on the country’s ability to recover after last February’s earthquake.

Gary Baki the police commissioner admitted there was a strain on police units following the disaster and some small pockets of trouble but that much of the fighting had subsided as a result of the mediation.

"Martin is doing his best in the mediation, and I'm quite happy with the way he's handling the situation over there with the mediation approach. And I just hope our own leaders as well too see that's the way forward on it, to getting their own people to respect the law”

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator;

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