The local community in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim and surrounding areas on both sides of the border, came together last Thursday (27th June 2019) to celebrate the launch of “Better Together”, a new 18-month cross-border cross-community project to foster community relationships and promote reconciliation and mutual understanding.
Funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Peace Impact Programme, and led by Ballinamore Area Community Council Ltd, Better Together will support organisational and community development; cultural awareness; skills development; youth programmes; and peacebuilding in this Border area.
This exciting and ambitious project has peace building at its core and through a series of cross community cross border initiatives will help to sustain this vibrant border community. Planned activities include committee skills training programmes such as governance and best practice as well as cultural exchanges with similar organisations in Northern Ireland.
An aspiring Youth programme will include a cross border mixed traditions drama project that will culminate in a drama production, as well as a “Sports 4 Peace” programme featuring clubs from counties Fermanagh and Leitrim that will involve them in football, team building and leadership activities.
Further, the project will involve working closely with their neighbours in Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh through their Mens Sheds programme and writers projects involving local women’s groups including the Ballinamore Hens Shed as well as the Enniskillen based Fermanagh Writers Group.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Bernie Butler, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), said the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme. “This project places an emphasis on creating new opportunities for participants to engage in dialogue, cultural exploration and skills development. It offers a window to foster peace and reconciliation in an area that has suffered greatly over many years – economically, socially and culturally. I have no doubt it will leave a lasting positive legacy for all who participate in it and for their wider communities. I wish everyone involved in the project success in the months ahead.”
Máirín Martin, Chairperson of Ballinamore Area Community Council Ltd., said: “On behalf of everyone involved in this project, I would like to thank the IFI for their funding support, without which this project would not be possible.
“This project was born from the need to engage a community and an area where rural isolation along with conflict and border legacy issues remain and fears over the impact of Brexit abound. It will provide something for people of all ages and interests, creating and supporting opportunities for shared learning and education, community transformation and peace-building. Better Together, we believe, will lead to a building of trust and a creation of conditions which will contribute positively for a shared future.”
Diana Armstrong, Vice Chairperson, Fermanagh Omagh District Council, said “I am very pleased to be here in Ballinamore tonight at the launch of this exciting cross border, cross community project. I am familiar with a similar project which forged firm friendships between Leitrim and Fermanagh and this new project will build on and further develop these friendships and lead to more trusting and caring communities well into the future. I wish the entire project well and felt it is important to promote greater understanding and acceptance of diversity between communities thereby reducing sectarianism.”
Enda McGloin, Cathaoirleach, Leitrim County Council, said “I would like to thank the committee for inviting me along tonight and also thank the International Fund for Ireland for placing their trust in the Ballinamore area and providing them with funding to carry out this important project. I would like to reiterate all that the previous speakers have said. It is vitally important that we continue to create opportunities to increase contact, dialogue and integration within and between communities both north and south of the border.”
For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.
International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884