Minister Coveney announces reconciliation funding of over €2m for 78 projects
Statement06 August 2020
Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, announces funding of over €2 million for 78 projects through the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Reconciliation Fund. Projects from across the community and voluntary sector, mainly in Northern Ireland and the Border region were selected in this round. These projects will promote reconciliation and help to create better understanding and relations between people and traditions on the island of Ireland.
Announcing this round of grants the Minister said:
“I am delighted to announce funding for 78 projects amounting to just over €2 million. The support of these projects demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to strengthening ties between communities in Northern Ireland, and supporting the building of relationships between both parts of the island as well as between Ireland and Britain.”
The Fund welcomed an extensive range of applications in this round for unique and varied projects. The numbers seeking funding continues to rise, with more than 200 applications received in this round. This increase demonstrates the key role that the Irish Government can play, through the Reconciliation Fund, in supporting peacebuilding on the island of Ireland.”
The Minister also noted the impact of Covid-19 on organisations working in reconciliation:
“It is important that we acknowledge the unprecedented impact that Covid-19 has had on those working to promote reconciliation across the island. Civil Society organisations have faced very serious challenges in trying to manage the financial and logistical issues that arose as a result of the crisis, while also seeking to support their local communities and continue the work of reconciliation.
In operating this recent funding round, my Department has sought to be as flexible and supportive as possible. We have accepted revised funding proposals that will allow groups to proceed with projects with adjusted timelines or using alternative delivery methods. Other organisations have been facilitated in reallocating project funds towards core running costs, to assist them in navigating successfully through the crisis period”.
The Minister concluded by paying tribute to those working in reconciliation at this difficult time:
“I would like to commend these organisations on rising to the recent challenge and submitting creative, viable and most importantly, safe proposals, which have the potential to contribute to reconciliation between communities and traditions on this island. I am delighted that my Department, and the Reconciliation Fund in particular, continues to play its part in supporting this vital work”.
- The Reconciliation Fund has been in existence since 1982 and was increased significantly following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. All parties to that Agreement undertook to “positively examine the case for enhanced financial assistance for the work of reconciliation.”
- As a result the Irish Government has provided increased support through the Reconciliation Fund since 1998. In the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, the Government committed to “support measures to promote reconciliation, including through continued annual provision of €2.7m in the Reconciliation Fund”.
- On 22 May 2018, at an event marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement referendums, Tánaiste Simon Coveney T.D. announced an additional €1m funding for the Reconciliation Fund from 2019. Further information on this announcement is available here: https://www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases/press-release-archive/2018/may/tanaiste-commits-additional-1-million-for-ireland/
- In the recent agreement (New Decade, New Approach) which paved the way for the restoration of devolved Government in Northern Ireland, the Irish Government re-stated its commitment to maintaining provision of €3.7 million per year for the Reconciliation Fund.
- A list of organisations being supported through this first funding round of 2020 can be found here.
- Further information on the Reconciliation Fund can be found at: www.dfa.ie/reconciliation