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‘Engaging the Breesy Way’ Award Ceremony

on .

Reconciliation programme aimed at 14-16 year olds in South Donegal and Tyrone

 

Breesy_Way-5On Wednesday (11th September), local residents and community representatives joined together with teenagers from South Donegal and the Border Counties in the Mill Park Hotel, Donegal to celebrate the achievements of participants in the ‘Engaging the Breesy Way’ reconciliation programme. At the event, certificates were awarded to 300 teenagers from local schools in recognition of their participation in a cross-community, cross-border programme which fosters contact, dialogue and relationship building between young people 14 to 16 years of age.

 

 

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland, the two-year ‘Engaging the Breesy Way’ project is administered by Cashelard Community Development Ltd, a cross community company which established the highly successful Bressy Centre in Cashelard in 2004 with the support of the Fund. The current programme is based out of the centre and provides opportunities to develop skills such as leadership, communication and interaction under pressure. It consists of workshops and outdoor pursuit-based sessions covering the theme of learning to live with diversity and an ‘in-school reconciliation module’ delivered during the academic year. ‘Leaven No Trace’ and Eco-Friendly habits are also promoted.

 

The current phase of the project was supported by €196, 845 in funding from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), with support funding from Eco Tourism Ireland and Cashelard Community Development. Following on from the success of the project, the IFI announced in March this year an additional €62,236 in funding to involve a further 120 participants across counties Donegal  and the border counties to run until this December  2013.

 

Mr Brent Pope the former New Zealand Rugby player and current analyst panel member with RTE sport was the guest speaker. Mr Pope had a distinguished career as a rugby player in New Zealand and played in Ireland with St Mary's and Clontarf RFC. Mr Pope, who became a successful coach before joining RTE Sport over 15 years ago, spoke of the importance of sport in character building and forming friendships which transcend narrow religious and social differences. 

 

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, David Graham, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland said the Fund was proud to be associated with the valuable work being carried out by the ‘Engaging the Breesy Way’ initiative, helping to build a shared future for communities in the region who suffered greatly as a consequence of the Troubles.

 

“The Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations and contact between the two main communities on the island of Ireland,” said Mr Graham. “By bringing young people from both traditions together as part of an activities based programme, the initiative has been tremendously successful in fostering greater interaction among participants and teaching the benefits of working together to achieve results. We believe this project will continue to have a very positive impact for reconciliation and promoting greater cross-community links in the area.”

 

Mr Graham also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Michael McGarrigle, Chairman of Cashelard Community Development Association said:  “On behalf of everyone involved in this project, I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland and Eco Tourism Ireland for this important reconciliation initiative. The project has been a great success to date by increasing mutual understanding and contact between young people in the catchment area. It has surpassed all expectations by changing attitudes and helping to develop many friendships among participants from both communities.”

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Click here to download press release