Local residents and community representatives recently came together in Killegar Orange Hall, Co. Leitrim for the launch of a new eight-month project aimed at encouraging members of the minority protestant population in Co Leitrim to take part in cross community and peace and reconciliation events.
The ‘Reaching Out, Looking Forward’ project, which will be delivered by the County Leitrim Orange Order Lodge is being funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Peace Impact Programme, which aims to engage with individuals and groups that have not previously, or only partially, participated in community development and peace building activities in targeted urban and rural areas.
The initiative will target members of the protestant population in Co Leitrim, many of whom have not previously engaged in cross-community and peace and reconciliation projects. Through a series of events, it will seek to address some of the negative local attitudes to the Leitrim Orange Order Lodge that exist within both communities.
The initial phase of the project will incorporate a World War 1 research programme as a central theme and basis for the initiative, offering a unifying cross-community platform to bring both traditions together. This element of the project will involve primary and secondary research into the estimated 2,000 men from Co. Leitrim who fought in WWI and will include open public meetings and participative workshops culminating in the production of a booklet of commemoration.
As part of a wider community activity programme, the project will also deliver a number of cross-community events, workshops and training courses. These will include a series of workshops for women of both traditions within the community including arts and crafts workshops. The programme will also include activities targetting young people, men and families including a speech and drama workshop, a children’s summer scheme and a Saturday club.
The project will be supported by a dedicated facilitator, who will engage with the local protestant population and address issues of conflict at a local level and facilitate the involvement of local individuals in cross-community events for the first time.
Speaking at the event, Dorothy Clarke, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland, said that the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme.
“We are delighted to be associated with this unique project which aims to increase contact, dialogue, sharing and integration within and between both communities. Creating greater understanding and building cohesion is a key theme of the project which we believe provides an important opportunity to deliver improved relationships and encourage peace building. Ultimately, this initiative will create the nurturing conditions for engagement that will help break down traditional barriers and enhance the community development of all involved. We wish the participants and organisers the very best of luck with the project.”
David Morton, County Grand Secretary of County Leitrim Orange Order stated: “This project offers us a unique opportunity to have a long-lasting, positive impact on both the local minority community and the wider community as a whole. Our aim is to achieve this by helping to change mind-sets and encourage a more cohesive approach to community development, thereby boosting confidence and knowledge within the community at large.
County Leitrim Grand Orange Lodge believes it has a responsibility to encourage peace building at a local level and this current project fits in with that ethos. We believe that by ‘Reaching Out and Looking Forward’ we will have a much more enlightened and confident community and we are extremely thankful to the International Fund for Ireland for their funding of the project".
Since commencing in 2013, the IFI’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP) has supported 56 projects across Northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland with €5,732,607/£4,586,085 in funding. It aims to build sustainable peace and reconciliation within and between communities suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation; where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building and where there remains a continued risk of instability and violence.
For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.
International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884