Peace Wall Removal
Community Celebrates Peace Wall Removal
Residents at a North Belfast interface hold a celebration event to mark a new era after the removal of a 30 year old Peace Wall.
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On Friday 20th November, local residents and community representatives from East Donegal and Strabane came together to celebrate the achievements of participants in the Activ8 Project run by Donegal Youth Service. Funded by the International Fund for Ireland, the project brought together young people from both sides of the border to take part in community-based training and development. The event took place in the Fir Trees Hotel, Strabane, where participants received certificates on the day.
Over a 14-month period, the project worked with 72 young people aged 16-24 years, providing hands-on community engagement and Open College Network accredited training in community development, understanding diversity, restorative practice and conflict management. Other elements of the project involved cross-border trips focusing on anti-sectarianism and peace-building. These included workshops with ex-prisoners and visits to Manorcunningham Orange Hall and Newtowncunningham Orange Hall, which was destroyed by fire in 2014.
The project was funded under the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme, which aims to build sustainable peace and prosperity in areas suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation. In particular, the programme seeks to engage with individuals and groups in targeted urban and rural areas that have not previously, or have only partially, participated in community development and peace building activities.
Speaking at the event, Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland said that the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme.
“We are delighted to be associated with Donegal Youth Service and to see the significant level of interest generated by this cross-border project. The initiative has been very successful in bringing together young people from both sides of the border to develop new skills which will be of enormous benefit both to them personally and to their communities in future years. Community engagement and creating greater understanding are key themes of the project, which we believe will have a lasting impact by promoting social stability and helping to break down remaining barriers to reconciliation.”
Acknowledging the generous support received from the International Fund for Ireland, Charlene Logue, Youth Outreach Manager, Donegal Youth Service, says: “The success of the Activ8 Project in engaging with young people of East Donegal and Strabane has exceeded our expectations. Not only has the project provided participants with valuable new skills, but it has helped those taking part develop a greater understanding of their own political and cultural history. At the same time, the project has created a stronger sense of community and strengthened connections between young people in the wider area – the benefits of which will continue to be felt and seen long into the future.”
Since commencing in 2013, the IFI’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP) has supported 56 projects across Northern Ireland and the southern border counties of Ireland with €5,732,607/£4,586,085 in funding. It aims to build sustainable peace and reconciliation within and between communities suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation; where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building and where there remains a continued risk of instability and violence.