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Project

Project to help address resolve divisive issues in Castlederg

Published on:  06 Aug 2014

County Tyrone community group Border Arts 2000 today launched an ambitious project aimed at addressing sensitive issues relating to parading, flags and the past.

Backed by the International Fund for Ireland, the 20-month Castlederg PIP Project will open new discussions on the history and impact of the Troubles and establish new ways to resolve tensions and unrest around bands and community parades.

 

It has already established three active forums for local businesses, clergy and community leaders and has resulted in both communities signing up to the village’s first Parades Calendar. The project will also provide practical training and support for young people who may be at risk of engaging in antisocial or unlawful behaviour.

International Fund for Ireland Board Member, Dorothy Clarke, said:

“Those involved in this project know the scale of the challenges ahead, but are stepping up with an ambitious plan to help reduce tensions and unrest. For too long people in Castlederg have paid the high price for community division and even though it suffered considerably during the conflict, it has seen little of the dividends of peace.

“This project will open new options for the communities to take a collective step forward and support them to resolve divisive issues head on.  This project is offering new opportunities for those willing to take a risk for peace and is already having a significant stabilising effect on the village and wider area.”

Castlederg PIP Project Co-ordinator, Gordon Speer, said:

“Division and disaffection are complex issues that continue to affect communities and young people in particular. Community relations in Castlederg have endured a rocky time in the last year, but there is still a strong belief and willingness to move forward.  We want to coordinate a new community response that generates fresh conversations on challenging issues and more positive options for young people.

“With the support of the International Fund for Ireland, we’ve been making steady progress in a number of very sensitive areas and that’s inspiring more people to come on board. We want to support the communities to reach agreement on how history and current events can be allowed to shape the future of the town and everyone living here.”

He added, “We have been greatly encouraged by the discussions and support we’ve received and invite anyone with an interest in becoming involved in this project to get in touch.”

Founded in 2000, Border Arts has earned a strong reputation for peace and reconciliation work and has previously mediated successfully between bands and residents groups in Castlederg over the issues of parades and flags. However, like many areas, recent difficulties around parades and protests have stoked tensions and community relations has suffered a setback in this area.

The initiative received £98,727 through the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP) which has been successful in addressing sensitive and challenging issues in areas where peace building activities have traditionally been limited.

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