Tánaiste delivers keynote address at 2019 Reconciliation Networking Forum
News05 March 2019
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, today gave the keynote address at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Networking Forum at the Convention Centre Dublin.
Addressing representatives of groups working on reconciliation and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and throughout the island of Ireland, the Tánaiste said: “We have seen you lift up your communities and we have seen you break down divisions. We have been proud funders and supporters of that work.”
The Tánaiste acknowledged the tighter funding environment many groups were experiencing and said that the annual budget of the Reconciliation Fund had been increased to €3.7 million this year, up from €2.7m last year.
The Tánaiste spoke about the challenges to reconciliation posed by the absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive and the North South Ministerial Council, as well as the process of Brexit. The Tánaiste said:
“I know too that many of you are very concerned about the state of relationships on these islands in recent years, reflected very often in what we’ve been seeing played out in public discourse. I understand all of these concerns... I see an absolute imperative to get the representatives of the people back into the Assembly and Executive and indeed the North-South Ministerial Council, talking and debating and working through the issues that challenge them, working for all communities in Northern Ireland, and for sustained North – South cooperation.”
He urged those present at the Forum “to harness your collective energy and experience and talent, to do everything possible to support a civic space inclusive of everyone, and encourage a return to full operation of all the institutions of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement.”
March 5 2019
Notes to Editor
- The Reconciliation Forum brings together groups supported by the Department’s Reconciliation Fund as well as other organisations and individuals working in diverse areas including women’s development, legacy, youth work and education, arts and culture, and commemoration.
- This year’s Forum, the 13th, saw some 180 delegates explore how civic society can help foster a positive and public dialogue as well as discussing future priorities for peacebuilding almost 21 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
- Full remarks by Tánaiste available on www.dfa.ie