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Reconciliation through the Riverine Project

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Reconciliation-through-Riverine-2The town of Strabane lies on the east bank of the River Foyle in Northern Ireland and on the western side of the river lies the town of Lifford in County Donegal. The overall aim of the Reconciliation through the Riverine Project is to develop a shared space for the people of these two neighbouring towns and their hinterlands, on a site that has been for so long associated with division.


“It will be a lasting legacy to the peace process, and in a way, a tribute to all those who have worked so hard over the years to help bring peace to the area” said Catherine Anne Kelly, Reconciliation Officer for the project.

The project is a joint initiative between Donegal County Council and Strabane District Council with strong support from the local community through the Riverine Forum.

“This project is an excellent example of public, private and local community collaboration, in this instance through a three strand approach.” said Catherine Anne. A funding application for strand one, the regeneration of the border riverside area into an iconic shared green space including features such as a tree lined boulevard, meeting spaces, public art, interactive play areas and a leafed arched walkway along the old railway track has been submitted to the Special EU Programme Body (SEUPB).

The Fund is supporting the other two strands of the project: the Youth Participation Programme which is aimed at ensuring ownership of this space by young people and to strengthen relationships between young people from different communities and across the border so as to address sectarianism. The final strand, the Community Participation Programme, will deliver a range of ongoing community based projects that will build positive relations at a cross-community and cross-border level. Projects will aim to address issues such as sectarianism, to promote equality and embrace diversity.

“Our first programme, the inaugural ‘Reconciliation through the Riverine Autumn School’ proved to be a huge success,” says Catherine Anne. “We had a week long array of events spanning the arts, literature, heritage, fishing, writing and music which appealed to the wider community in the greater Strabane and Lifford area. A week long calendar of events focused on sharing and promoting new thinking, perspectives and knowledge on peace building and reconciliation.

“The Autumn School brought people together – young and old – through participatory events and created a sense of place by improving their knowledge and understanding of the local area. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the local groups involved and in particular the International Fund for Ireland for their support in the overall Riverine project. Their funding was integral to the success of getting this project underway from the outset and we can look forward to bringing this iconic project to fruition so that the two communities can share and enjoy their cultures and traditions together in harmony.”