Minister Coveney announces record levels of funding for peace and reconciliation projects
Press release18 January 2022
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney T.D., today announced the list of organisations awarded funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Reconciliation Fund in 2021. Selected from across the community and voluntary sector, mainly in Northern Ireland and the Border region, 139 projects were granted funding. These projects will promote reconciliation and help to create better understanding and relations between people and traditions on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.
Announcing these grants, the Minister said:
“I am delighted to announce that funding for 139 projects, amounting to almost €3.9 million, has been awarded in 2021. This is the highest level of annual funding ever awarded through my Department’s Reconciliation Fund and it demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment, rooted in the core values of the Good Friday Agreement, to supporting the vital work of reconciliation on these islands.”
The Minister also spoke of the new multi-annual funding scheme introduced by the Reconciliation Fund in 2021:
“I’m very pleased that, despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, my Department was also able to roll out a new Strategic Partnerships scheme in 2021. This will provide 15-30 peacebuilding organisations with a commitment to 3-year funding for core and programme costs, and I expect to be in a position to announce the list of those grant recipients in the coming weeks.
“The launch of this important multi-annual funding initiative, combined with our ongoing annual spring and autumn funding rounds, means that we expect to make Reconciliation Fund grant awards totalling €5 million in 2022 for the first time. This level of funding, up from a budget of €2.7 million in 2018, underlines the importance we attach to the work of the partner organisations of the Reconciliation Fund, and the vital role the Reconciliation Fund continues to play in supporting reconciliation on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.”
The Minister also referred to the impact of Covid-19 on organisations working in reconciliation:
“It is important that we continue to acknowledge the unprecedented impact that Covid-19 has had on those working to promote reconciliation during these last two years. Civil society organisations have faced very significant challenges in trying to manage the financial and operational issues posed by the pandemic, while also trying to support their local communities and find innovative ways to continue the work of reconciliation.
“I would like to commend the groups we support for the tremendous efforts they have made. My Department’s Reconciliation Fund has sought to provide affected organisations with maximum flexibility and support over the past year, and will continue to do everything possible to assist them in their work in these challenging circumstances”.
18 January 2022
Notes for Editors
- 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, Minister Simon Coveney T.D. announced an additional €1m funding for the Reconciliation Fund from 2019.
- In the most recent Agreement of January 2020 (New Decade, New Approach) which paved the way for the restoration of devolved Government in Northern Ireland, the Irish Government again re-stated its commitment to maintaining provision of €3.7 million per year for the Reconciliation Fund. However, funding was increased further to almost €3.9m for 2021 and is expected to reach €5.0m for 2022.
- The Reconciliation Fund operates two main general funding rounds each year (in spring and autumn), and a Strategic Partnerships multi-annual funding scheme which was launched in 2021.
- A list of organizations being supported through the 2021 funding rounds can be found here.
- Further information on the Reconciliation Fund, including an updated Strategy released in March 2021, can be found at: www.dfa.ie/reconciliation