The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., has announced €1,562,500 in grants to support community organisations working on both sides of the border.
A total of 77 reconciliation and anti-sectarianism projects will receive funding following the announcement on 22 May.The Reconciliation and Anti-Sectarianism Funds – which were expanded to their current size following the Good Friday Agreement – support cross-community outreach in Northern Ireland and the border counties. The Funds also support cross-border co-operation and sensitive commemorative and cultural events.
Announcing the funding, the Tánaiste said:
“Today is the 15th anniversary of the referenda held North and South to ratify the Good Friday Agreement. That Agreement has opened up new possibilities and opportunities for a generation who are growing up in a time of peace. Northern Ireland is still a very divided society however, and while North/South cooperation and relations have improved very significantly, the legacy of the past continues to affect communities, businesses and infrastructure on both sides of the border.”
The tireless work being carried out by these groups is helping to build sustainable community relations
Amongst the groups receiving an award under the Funds is Co-operation Ireland, which receives the largest award, for its work with at-risk young people and in marginalised communities. Support is also being provided to Mediation NI for training to enable community leaders in Ballymena, Limavady and Omagh to deal with contentious issues in their communities, and to Greenore Greencastle Community Association for its development of cross-border links between Counties Louth and Down. These examples demonstrate the broad reach of the Funds across communities in Northern Ireland and the border region.
The Tánaiste commended all the groups receiving funding for their contribution to reconciliation, and the promotion of improved relations on the island of Ireland: “The tireless work being carried out by these groups is helping to build sustainable community relations based on mutual respect and tolerance. The challenge of sustaining and embedding peace is one which much be taken forward at the political level but also very much at the community level.”