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International Fund for Ireland commits €2.2m/£1.57m towards 23 community projects

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The International Fund for Ireland has confirmed €2.2m/£1.57m of financial assistance to support 23 community projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland.

The funding, approved at the organisation’s recent Board Meeting in Cavan, will see €2m/£1.44m shared among 16 projects that are working to address difficult issues linked to the legacy of conflict and will engage with young people who are at risk of becoming involved in sectarian or anti-social activity.

A further €179,200/£128,000 will be shared among seven Peace Walls initiatives based in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry that are building confidence within communities and opening new conversations on potential changes to physical divisions.

It is the first award of financial support since the Fund unveiled plans to allocate up to £45m towards a range of peace and reconciliation programmes over the next five years. The ‘Community Consolidation – Peace Consolidation 2016-2020’ Strategy will expand and intensify the current Peace Walls and Peace Impact programmes and introduce two new initiatives that are linked to education and youth training.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the Fund, said:
“This allocation of funding is timely and supports urgent action at a community level. The groups receiving support are engaging with those who have been left behind by the Peace Process and in some cases will work to reduce the influence of those who violently oppose the political settlement. In recent weeks, we’ve welcomed political progress in a number of important areas. The commitments identified in the Fresh Start Agreement complement the work that we have been doing at grassroots level for a long time, particularly in relation to Peace Walls.

“In the last three years, we’ve challenged and encouraged communities to develop brave solutions to difficult issues like parading, paramilitary violence and issues related to the legacy of the conflict. We know there are risks that still need to be taken for peace and the Fund is both prepared and qualified to undertake the heavy lifting in critical areas where others remain unwilling or unable to go.”

The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - for their support.

The latest funding package includes awards to two new projects through the Fund’s Peace Impact Programme:

  • €65,695/£46,925 to Youth Work Ireland Monaghan to deliver a one-year project involving cross-border and cross-community activities for up to 120 disadvantaged young people in County Monaghan and its surrounding border areas.
  • €67,870/£48,479 to Teach Oscail to deliver a one-year programme of intensive mentoring, accredited training and youth development targeting young people from the housing estate of Tullymongan in Cavan town.

The funding will also enable a number of groups that have previously received assistance through the Peace Impact Programme to come together in partnership work across multiple areas. These include

  • £113,967/€159,553 to Sperrin Cultural Awareness Association and Fermanagh Sports and Cultural Awareness to undertake a one-year project that will build on two current projects that have separately engaged marginalised people and developed confidence and cohesion in South Londonderry/Derry and Fermanagh.
  • £120,740/€169,036 to Leafair Community Association/Carson/Ultoniae for a one-year partnership project across Londonderry/Derry, mid-Antrim and north Antrim. The funding will support collaboration between the three groups and involve activities that seek to engage young people and women in peace building; improve employability and skills; address cultural and identity issues; and open new cross-community dialogue.

Click here to download the press release