Minister Flanagan calls for renewed effort in reconciliation in Northern Ireland15 September 2014
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, will today urge all parties striving for peace in Northern Ireland to redouble their efforts to overcome the political impasse.
Minister Flanagan will address the Reconciliation Forum in Dublin Castle today, which brings together 120 groups working to further peace on the island of Ireland to discuss how best to manage the legacy of the Troubles, reduce segregation, and combat sectarianism.
Speaking ahead of the forum, Minister Flanagan said:
“I know from speaking to community groups that sectarianism and division continue to blight communities across the North and that the past eighteen months have been particularly difficult. In many instances, communities are discouraged by the slow pace of progress at a political level. If we are to continue to make progress and to resolve the political impasses to reconciliation, we need to encourage public conversations about how best to manage the legacy of the Troubles. Today’s Forum is an opportunity for one such conversation.
“I and the Irish Government remain committed to working with all the political parties to overcome the current political impasse. This is going to require a renewal and redoubling of efforts from all concerned, including from civil society whose role is vital. People who have a track record in reconciliation work across this island can help create the momentum for positive change towards the kind of society they wish to see. This constructive engagement is critical to ongoing progress in the political process.”
Over 180 delegates will attend the forum, which is organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The groups are engaged in a wide variety of peace-building activities from commemorations and youth work to arts and culture. They receive funding to support this work from the Department’s Reconciliation Fund.
Since 1999, the Reconciliation Fund has disbursed €40 million to over 1,800 projects which are designed to further reconciliation. This year, the fund will provide €2.7 million in grants to organisations working to eliminate sectarianism and to further peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, on a cross-border basis, and between Ireland and Britain.
15 September 2014
Note for Editors:
- As part of the Good Friday Agreement, all parties to the Agreement undertook to “positively examine the case for enhanced financial assistance for the work of reconciliation.”
- As a result, since the signing of the Agreement the Irish Government has provided significant support through the Reconciliation Fund. The 2014 budget for the fund is €2.7 million.
- Applications for the next round of funding must be received by Friday 26th September 2014; information and application forms can be found at www.dfa.ie/reconciliation