2017 Reconciliation Forum
Nearly 20years on from the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process has brought enormous dividends to all people on the island of Ireland. This dividend is a result of the work that civil society has done in promoting peace and reconciliation. To support the work of civil society organisations the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides financial assistance through the Reconciliation Fund to support the goal of a fully reconciled Ireland.
At this year’s annual Reconciliation Networking Forum the focus of the discussions was on the theme of “Reconciliation: the reality, challenges and responses”. Some 180 delegates discussed the realities and challenges they face in working towards a fully reconciled society. Those in attendance come from a diverse range of organisations and fields, including youth work, education, community, commemorations, and culture.
The Reconciliation Networking Forum provides the Irish Government with an opportunity to discuss with the civil society sector how best we can contribute to repairing those issues that lead to division and create barriers to the achievement of a peaceful, reconciled and forward-looking society.
“Decades of peacebuilding, countless quiet conversations, uncomfortable conversations, so many moments of leadership, generosity and grace, all tipped the balance twenty years ago from violence to peace and culminated in the Good Friday Agreement. “ – Minister Coveney
Community Relations in Schools works to support schools in developing meaningful cross-community good relations programmes that bring together children, parents and communities. Through their project supported by the Reconciliation Fund, ‘Shaping Change’, CRIS works in three areas with children, parents and schools to build upon and develop networks between controlled and maintained schools.
Corrymeela is Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation. From their residential centre in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim they run a diverse range of programmes aimed at fostering dialogue, understanding and reconciliation. The Reconciliation Fund is supporting Corrymeela’s work in engaging with 50 groups from a variety of civil society sectors across the island of Ireland to build upon their capacity to carry out peace and reconciliation work.
Healing Through Remembering brings together a network of organisations to find common ground in dealing with the legacy of the past as it relates to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. The support which Healing Through Remembering receives from the Reconciliation Fund helps them to engage with the community around questions of how to deal with the past.
Youth Action NI is a leading voluntary youth organisation in Northern Ireland. Their peace-building work with young people helps to address segregation and sectarianism through supporting them as active and equal citizens whose voices are heard, respected and valued. They are being supported by the Reconciliation Fund to provide peace-building training to young people and to develop north-south and east-west partnerships among the main youth organisations in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The Reconciliation Fund
- We give funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups, and voluntary organisations to support reconciliation and to create better understanding between people and traditions on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.
- The Reconciliation Fund has been running since 1982, and was increased significantly in 1998, following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also operated an Anti-Sectarianism Fund in addition to the Reconciliation Fund in the period 2008-2014.
- In 2014, in accordance with the new Reconciliation Fund Strategy, the two funds have been merged into a single Reconciliation Fund. Anti-sectarianism is now mainstreamed throughout the entire programme and is of a number of priority areas to be addressed by the Fund.
- In 2017, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will provide €2.7 million in funding.
- The closing date for the next round of funding will be spring 2018. Further information and application forms can be found at https://www.dfa.ie/about-us/funding/reconciliation-fund/