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Cross Border Computer Training Programme Proves Huge Success

on .

Over 300 Participants from Cox’s Demesne Muirhevnamor and The Shankill in Belfast join in celebration

DSC_4158On Wednesday (9th October), over 300 participants who completed the ‘Beyond Beliefs’ computer skills training programme attended an event at the Crown Plaza, Dundalk to celebrate the success of the cross border project which has been running for the past 3 ½ years.  

 

The ‘Beyond Beliefs Data’ project used the neutral territory of IT training, with a particular focus on multi-media skills, to foster reconciliation among the Nationalist communities of Dundalk and the Unionist community of The Shankhill, Belfast, and also between local Catholic and Protestant communities in Dundalk.   The project, led by the Louth Leader Partnership, was developed by Le Chéile CDP and Áit na nDaoine CDP, representing the DATA network of Dundalk.  

 

In addition to delivering valuable multi-media skills training, the project included a significant cross-border, cross-community element through engagement with community representatives in the Vine Centre in the Shankhill, Belfast.   Participants in both communities made reciprocal visits for workshops providing opportunities to explore and discuss their beliefs and the impacts, both positive and negative, that these beliefs can have on their communities and the wider community.

 

Belinda McGurk, Project Co-Ordinator said that the Beyond Beliefs Data project had made a significant contribution to the local communities of Dundalk and Belfast and in promoting cross-community engagement.  “The main aim of the project set out to acknowledge the past and support participants on a cross border basis in addressing prejudice and intolerance to build trust.  Without the participation of communities from both sides of the Border, this project would not have succeeded and I wish to thank everyone who got involved in the course.  Many participants both from the Protestant and Catholic areas between Dundalk and Belfast shared the same view that if they had not taken part in this project they would never have had the opportunity to see each other’s cultures and traditions..  This could not have been achieved without the support of the International Fund for Ireland, and on behalf of everyone involved, a huge thanks to the Fund”. 

 

Speaking at the event, Sean O’Regan, Joint Director General of the IFI, said:  “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. “ The ‘Beyond Beliefs Data’ project has been a resounding success since it commenced in 2010 and I believe was over-subscribed for much of that time.  Such was the success of the project, that the International Fund for Ireland, together with the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided additional funding to extend the course through to the end of 2013, bringing the total number of participants to complete the course to over 300.  I congratulate everyone who participated and successfully completed the course and I applaud all of the organisations involved in the project.   This was a true cross-community effort and I commend you on your ongoing commitment to your local communities”. 

 

Mr O’Regan 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.

 Click here for Press Release