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Minister for Foreign Affairs launches the “Ambassadors for Peace” project

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., today formally launched ‘2019, Bringing Down the Walls’, an action plan put together by sixteen young men and women from interface communities in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Fifth Reconciliation Networking Forum1 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Minister Martin said:

“This group of young people, from both main communities, worked together in an innovative youth programme called Ambassadors for Peace. They have committed themselves to creating a viable action plan to eradicate peace walls by 2019. They will lobby on behalf of their communities throughout their time on the programme and beyond.”

Minister Martin emphasised the fundamental importance of young people in sustaining the peace and building a shared future:

“The greatest strength of Ambassadors for Peace is that it is truly a youth driven programme, and its aims and objectives very much reflect the concerns and aspirations of young people.”

Commending the participants, the Minister announced funding of €15,000 from the Reconciliation Fund2 for the Ambassadors for Peace programme for 2010.

Note for Editors:

  • The Reconciliation Networking Forum is a two-day event attended by some 200 individuals representing community groups engaged in reconciliation activities and anti sectarianism projects on both sides of the border. The Forum gives participants the opportunity to meet with other organisations active in the reconciliation sector for the discussion of best practice and future challenges in community relations.
  • As part of the Good Friday Agreement, participants undertook to “positively examine the case for enhanced financial assistance for the work of reconciliation.” On that basis, a Government Decision in April 1999 increased funding eightfold to £2 million. The budget for this year is €3 million - this covers both the Reconciliation Fund and the Anti-Sectarianism Fund. Since 1999, the two Funds have between them disbursed some €23 million to over 800 projects.