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Minister Charlie Flanagan announces Strategic Partners in Northern Ireland Reconciliation

Commemorations, Minister Charles Flanagan, Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Ireland, Northern Ireland, 2015

 

Minister Charlie Flanagan announces Strategic Partners in Northern Ireland Reconciliation
-Minister to meet Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charles Flanagan T.D., today announced that four organisations had been selected as Strategic Partners of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund.

Speaking in advance of a meeting in Dublin this evening with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP, Minister Flanagan said:

“Last year, I pledged to introduce a Strategic Partners scheme in 2015 in recognition of the vital role of civil society in furthering reconciliation on the island of Ireland. I am delighted today to announce the Reconciliation Fund’s first four Strategic Partners: Community Relations in Schools; Corrymeela; Healing Through Remembering and Youth Action.

“These organisations have an excellent track record in furthering peace and reconciliation and I welcome the strengthened partnership that my Department will have with them over the next three years.”

Speaking about Corrymeela, Minister Flanagan said:

“I am pleased that Corrymeela this week will also welcome HRH Prince Charles to their centre. The Irish Government has provided support to Corrymeela for a number of years in recognition of the quality of their programming and their steadfast commitment to respect and dialogue.”

Speaking about his meeting with Secretary of State Villiers today, Minister Flanagan said:

“The two Governments, along with the Northern Ireland Executive party leaders, committed ourselves to furthering the reconciliation agenda in the Stormont House talks last autumn. What was achieved in the Stormont House Agreement last December has the potential to contribute significantly to repairing those issues which lead to division and conflict and to building a strong civil society that encompasses all communities and promotes political stability and respect for all.

"There is too much at stake to allow the Stormont House Agreement fall now over any one issue. Today, Theresa Villiers and I will discuss how best to get implementation of the Agreement back on track. Advancing reconciliation is the responsibility of the whole of society. As well as supporting civil society, we need to continue to advance reconciliation at the political level, and implementation of the Stormont House Agreement and upholding commitments made in previous Agreements is a key part of that process.”

ENDS
Press Office
19 May 2015

Notes for Editors

Corrymeela is Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation. From their residential centre in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim they run a diverse range of programmes aimed at fostering dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.
Community Relations in Schools is a small organisation that works to support schools in developing meaningful cross-community good relations programmes that bring together children, parents and communities.
Healing Through Remembering brings together a network of organisations to find common ground in dealing with the legacy of the past as it relates to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.
Youth Action NI is a leading voluntary youth organisation in Northern Ireland. Their peace-building work with young people helps to address segregation and sectarianism through supporting them as active and equal citizens whose voices are heard, respected and valued.

• The Reconciliation Fund has been running since 1982, and was increased significantly in 1998, following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

• Over €2.7 million in grants were allocated last year and a similar level of funding is expected in 2015.

• Funding is given to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups, and voluntary organisations.

• The Fund focuses its support through two thematic pillars: (1) Repairing those issues which lead to division and conflict (2) Building a strong civil society that encompasses all communities, through the continued implementation of the Agreements and promoting a rights-based society, political stability and respect for all.

• A new Reconciliation Fund Strategy was launched in 2014 See www.dfa.ie/reconciliation

• The Strategic Partner scheme, piloted in 2015, allows organisations which in previous years had received project funding from the Reconciliation Fund to apply to become a partner of the Fund for three years.

• It is intended to provide support in this way on a rolling basis to up to five organisations each year, involving a maximum of 15 organisations.