The International Fund for Ireland has announced financial assistance of £4.6m (€5.5m) towards a wide range of initiatives which will promote cross-community and cross-border relations by increasing the level of contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists in Ireland – North and South.
The announcement was made following the Fund’s recent Board meeting which took place in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Dr Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the Fund, said:
“The recent street disturbances in East Belfast have highlighted that the peace process remains fragile and that within many communities there are those who are vulnerable to being exploited for violent ends, particularly in interface areas. The events in East Belfast also underlined the important role that community leaders play in defusing tensions.
“The work of improving community relations is a long-term task. The Fund is committed to breaking down traditional barriers in order to help build positive relations between the two main communities on the island of Ireland. We are working in some of our most marginalised communities to promote mutual understanding and respect so that we can meet our objective of establishing a peaceful society free from fear, isolation, mistrust and the threat of violence.
“The funding announced today will go towards a number of projects which will break new ground in our unstinting efforts to overcome the legacy of the Troubles and to establish cross-community cooperation and reconciliation as the norm in our society.”
The International Fund for Ireland’s funding includes:
• The Fund’s Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme will provide £2.7m (€3.2m) to several projects to promote cross-community and cross-border contact in recognised areas of disadvantage and social isolation. The projects will help to bring about lasting community development and positive change.
Among the beneficiaries will be Inishowen Women’s Information Network & Mid Ulster Women’s Network. Their project, Exploring New Directions, will receive £214,895 (€257,874) for a 2-year programme of activities aimed at encouraging women in rural communities to engage in civic activity in their community and to share this with women in other communities on a cross-border and cross-community basis.
South West Donegal Communities Partnership Limited: £232,750 (€279,300) towards a 2-year project aimed at addressing the legacy and impact of the conflict on older men in South West Donegal. The project will address the issues of on-going fear, distrust and lack of understanding between men from both communities and will include intergenerational activity. Inishowen Women’s Information Network /Mid Ulster Women’s Network: Exploring New Directions, will receive £214,895 (€257,874) for a 2-year programme of activities aimed at encouraging women in rural communities to engage in civic activity in their community and to share this with women in other communities on a cross-border and cross-community basis.
Lifford/Clonleigh Resource Centre: £199,225 (€239,070) towards a 2-year project which will identify 10 cross-community and cross-border hubs in Inishowen, County Donegal and Limavady in County Derry to promote reconciliation by linking past and present through the exploration of local history using ICT.
Inishowen Development Partnership Football4Peace Ireland Sustainability Programme: £137,500 (€165,000) towards a 2-year coaching programme designed and accredited by the University of Ulster. The programme will cover Culture and Attitudes, Equality and Diversity, Conflict Identification and Resolution, Sports Leadership, Coaching Skills, Communication Skills, and the use of sport and physical activity as a tool for integration.