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A Peace Wall in Belfast is removed following community consultation.

Political Stalemate Continues to be a Risk for Lasting Peace

Published on:  10 Dec 2018

Uncertainty around Brexit and the ongoing political issues in Northern Ireland are posing a challenge to the efforts of communities trying to achieve positive and lasting peace, according to the International Fund for Ireland.

This assertion follows the announcement of the IFI’s latest funding package, which will see a total of £2,624,692 /€3,149,627invested in 17 projects, all working to deliver positive change for the local communities, where they operate. The funding has been allocated to 12 initiatives across the Peace Impact Programme (PIP) and Personal Youth Development Progamme (PYDP). The latest support also sees a substantial injection of £652,818 in five projects in the Peace Walls Progamme across Belfast and Londonderry/ Derry. These initiatives are typically working with residents who live in the heart of interface areas, where the legacy of the conflict continues to impact everyday life.

These groups, in the current climate of uncertainty, are facing difficult conversations and are in danger of halting the significant progress that has been made in recent years in some of the most contentious interface areas in Northern Ireland.

The role of the Peace Walls Programme is primarily to build community capacity and confidence in and between communities, aimed at reaching community agreement around barrier alteration or removal.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland says: “There are a number of obstacles facing community organisations at the moment many of which are hampering further progress in peace building. Our programmes are making a valuable contribution despite instability at a political level and in some cases a sense of alienation towards reconciliation efforts.

“Without a functioning Executive and political representatives working together in partnership at Stormont, the community sector is left at risk of being polarised once again.

“Our Peace Walls Programme has been working with interface communities since 2012. We often find what has been agreed by residents from both sides of the community in sensitive engagement with our groups doesn’t fully materialize. We are calling for appropriate levels of support for all communities in interface areas once walls are removed or softened. If support isn’t offered, progress in peace building may be negatively affected, which could lead to residents losing faith in the process on the ground.

“The most marginalised sections of our society are being further impacted by not resolving the long term issues they continue to face as a legacy of the past. Our projects operate in areas that face many of these challenges including deprivation, low employment skills, mental health issues, drugs and alcohol abuse and paramilitary activity to name a few." 


“We know that the IFI must continue to engage in communities where others aren’t in order to achieve positive, lasting transformation. Without support from other key organisations/ government, the Fund alone cannot deliver on the scale that is required. 

“It is vital that we continue to pave the way for peace building and continue to support projects as much as possible in order to help resolve legacy issues that continue to affect communities in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.”

The funding packages announced are geographically spread across Northern Ireland and border counties, indicating the need that still exists in local communities for continued support. 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 the following Peace Walls Programme projects:

  • £158,864/€190,636 to Black Mountain Shared Space (BMSSP)
  • £159,562/€191,474 to Duncairn Community Partnership (DCP)
  • £104,222/€125,066 to Greater Whitewell Community Surgery (GWCS)
  • £112,905/€135,486 to The Imagine Peace Walls Project (LOCA/CRF)
  • £117,265/€140,718 to Bogside and Brandywell Initiative (BBI)

Full Funding Allocations:

Peace Impact Programme

County Antrim

£152,379/€182,854 to Carson Project for a two year project across the Mid and North Antrim Area, to engage various Loyalist factions. The project will offer cultural awareness activities, skills, personal development, event management training and support as well as offering peace building and mediation support to factions and opposing groups.

£223,562/€268,274 to Ulidia Training (UT) to extend and expand for a two year project focusing on the up skilling and empowerment of rural Loyalist communities in the Ballymoney, Causeway Coast and Glens area, through training and development, cultural exploration/celebration, restorative practice, and social enterprise.

County Londonderry / Derry

£215,480/€258,576 to Sperrin Cultural Awareness Association (SCAA) for a two year outreach and developmental project targeted at rural Loyalist communities in Co. Londonderry and parts of South Antrim including Garvagh, Randalstown, and Magherafelt, who feel alienated from the Peace Process. The project focuses on peacebuilding and critical engagement, intra-community development and Social Economy. 

County Armagh

£210,709/€252,850 to Community Restorative Justice Newry Armagh (CRJNA) to extend and expand its project in Newry, South Armagh and along border villages in Louth and Monaghan for two years. The project will work with established groups in these areas and facilitate dialogue and engagement with disaffected members of the community and at risk youth in the Newry in the South Armagh border area. It will aim to furnish young people and adults with essential skills and promote cross community engagement.

County Tyrone

£246,107/€295,328 to EALU to sustain and expand its work with key Republican/CNR constituencies in East Tyrone and North Armagh for two years. The project will include training, capacity building, essential skills, sign posting, mental health awareness, youth intervention, local mediation and negotiation, cross- community peace building and engagement.

£170,535/€204,642 to Bready and District Ulster Scots Development Association for a two year project to lead critical interventions in Londonderry/Derry, West Tyrone, and East Donegal.  The project will work with youth at risk of paramilitary recruitment and marginalised communities in order to furnish participants with productive skills by facilitating new engagements, and Training and Development, creating cultural awareness & social justice and to address cultural challenges.


£213,600/€256,320 to Renew Engage Advance Community Hopes (REACH) for two years to expand its conflict transformation and employability programme across their target areas in East Belfast with the addition of a dedicated project to support women. With further cross-border and cross-community work to introduce new people from across the target areas to these activities. 

County Cavan

£165,025/€198,031 to Swanlinbar Development Association to extend and expand ‘The Finding Our Way ’ project for two years in the border region of West Cavan and Fermanagh including Swanlinbar, Kinawley, Florencecourt and Ballinamallard. The cross-community, cross-border development project will provide skills and personal development training, which will support and create opportunities for learning and education, community transformation and peace building.

County Londonderry/Derry

£58,255/€69,906 to Leafair Community Association for an inter-community initiative focused on dialogue and training provision in the ‘Outer North’ area of Derry/Londonderry for one year. The ‘Community Cohesion’ project will promote community cohesion with emphasis on anti-violence in the Shantallow/ Galliagh area of Derry/Londonderry. The ‘FACE to FACE’ project will work with participants to create dialogue structured engagement with groups from other areas of East Tyrone, North and Mid Antrim, Donegal, and Fermanagh, among others.

£67,457/€80,948 to Londonderry Bands Forum (LBF) for one year, to expand its bands community project and allow a pilot programme of expansion into new areas where the Forum has been building relationships.

Peace Walls Programme


£158,864/€190,636 to Black Mountain Shared Space (BMSSP) for one year to extend and expand the project in the Upper Springfield/Black Mountain of West Belfast. The project will work with specific target groups to build and develop relationships through capacity building and constructive dialogue.

£159,562/€191,474 to Duncairn Community Partnership (DCP) for one year to extend their project in the wider Duncairn area of Lower North Belfast, an area with physical barriers at several locations. The project aims to build stronger and more stable relationships between those residents living closest to the physical barriers identified, as well as strengthening community, statutory and political engagement.

£104,222/€125,066 to Greater Whitewell Community Surgery (GWCS) for one year to build further on its youth and statutory engagement, family and cultural identity work, as well as tackling issues such as  segregation, sectarianism, sporadic interface violence, restricted movement and mistrust. As well as working on health and well-being through events, activities and engagements, in the greater Whitewell area of North Belfast and Newtownabbey. 

£112,905/€135,486 to The Imagine Peace Walls Project (LOCA/CRF) for one year to continue its project across the Lower Oldpark/Cliftonville/Lower Antrim Road area of North Belfast. The project will work to increase positive attitudinal change towards Peace Wall/barrier removal and/or reduction through increasing community confidence and agreement, through community and statutory engagement.


£117,265/€140,718 to Bogside and Brandywell Initiative (BBI) for one year to build positive attitudinal change towards barrier removal, reduction or declassification. Focusing on re-building community relations and confidence following well documented unrest at the interface over July/August 2018.

Personal Youth Development Programme


£91,385/€109,662 to Workforce Training Services, Belfast for a one year project ‘Pathways Project: Empowering Young People for their Futures’ in the West Belfast and Greater Shankill areas. The project will target sixteen 14-16 year olds from nationalist and unionist backgrounds and will focus on skills development, confidence and self-esteem building and respect for cultural diversity.

County Louth

£157,380/€188,856 to Connect FRC, Drogheda for a two year project called the ‘Footsteps’ project, which will work with 10 existing and six new participants, aged 16-21 years old and provide: mentoring and personal development, skills training and development, education and employability programmes and workshops on diversity and good relations.

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.

Belfast Office

International Fund for Ireland
Seatem House
28-32 Alfred St.

+44 (0)28 9031 2884

Dublin Office

PO Box 2000
Dublin 2

+353 1 408 2130

Copyright © International Fund for Ireland 2017.