The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) has today co-ordinated a visit by a senior US Congressional Group to the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation based in Co. Wicklow. The senior US Congressional delegation met with the Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland and the management team of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, together with participants from the IFI funded Young Leaders Programme and the YouthAction Group, a leading voluntary development agency, based in Northern Ireland.
The US Congressional Delegation currently visiting Ireland is led by Congressman Richie Neal, the current Chairman of the Friends of Ireland, and comprises nine member of the US Congress, including Congressman Jim Walsh, the former Chairman of the Friends of Ireland Group. All have been particularly supportive of the Irish peace process and the work of the International Fund for Ireland.
Speaking at the Glencree Centre, Denis Rooney, chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, welcomed the visiting delegation and paid tribute to the key role each of the Congressional Delegation has made in maintaining US support for the work of the International Fund for Ireland. Referring to the three “R’s” in his speech to the delegates, Rooney said: “The support of the US is Required, Relevant and Recognised.“ While Rooney highlighted the achievements of the Fund, he also noted that “much remains to be done to deliver a sustainable peace.” He commented that “the International Fund for Ireland’s new five year ‘Sharing this Space’ Strategy commits the Fund to a stronger focus on reconciliation and prioritises integration – the breaking down of the physical, mental and emotional barriers that divide people in Northern Ireland and the border counties.”
Commenting on the visit to the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Congressman Richie Neal, Chairman of the Friends of Ireland said: “We are absolutely delighted to visit this beautiful place today to really see the fruits of the efforts of so many people over so many years towards building a lasting peace. We are very encouraged by the young people we have met today and can only be optimistic for a bright future for Ireland, North and South.”
Máirín Colleary, CEO of the Glencree Centre said: “We at Glencree are delighted to welcome the delegation and to show them at first hand the work we do to develop the potential of young people to lead others in a constructive way.”
The YouthAction Group travelled down from Belfast, where the Group performed a play, which they wrote themselves, about policing and young offenders.
The United States has contributed to the International Fund for Ireland since it was established in 1986. To date, the US has pledged over $482million towards activities of the Fund promoting economic and social advance and encouraging contact, dialogue and reconciliation between unionists and nationalists throughout Ireland.
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