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Carntogher and Kilcronaghan

on .

Carntogher and KilcronaghanCarntogher and Kilcronaghan are two small rural communities situated just five miles apart in County Londonderry/Derry. Both areas were affected significantly by the mutual mistrust and sometimes hostility that developed during the Troubles.

In 1992 the people of the mainly Nationalist Carntogher area set up a community association to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural interests of the local community. In Kilcronaghan, a predominantly Unionist group also came together for the first time and formed a community association. The Fund previously assisted the Kilcronaghan group to develop a hostel facility.

Despite sectarian tensions in the area, the groups took steps towards engagement and arranged a number of joint social events which attracted members from both communities and helped them to build acquaintances that crossed the political and religious divide.

In 2009 Carntogher Community Association applied to the Fund for assistance in delivering a cross-community project in association with Kilcronaghan Community Association. The aim was to build on their achievements to date in a safe and controlled way. The groups wanted to bring the communities closer together, to deepen their understanding of each other and to address some of the differences that had arisen between the communities as a result of the years of conflict.

According to Niall O’Kane, Chairperson of Carntogher Community Association, the early partnership work laid the foundations that helped to build better relations between the two communities.

He says: “Both groups are committed to this new process and we have embarked on the journey towards reconciliation and creating a better and more stable future for our younger generation.”

Wesley Tomb, Chairperson of Kilcronaghan Community Association, says: “The group is very happy with the way things are developing.

“We’ve now planned and delivered a series of music and dance workshops, social events, study trips, discussion workshops and heritage walks which have allowed us to explore and begin to understand each other’s culture and backgrounds. It’s only by understanding where we’ve come from that we can understand where we are going to.”