02 January 2006

Cross-border outreach groups get €1m boost


02/01/2006 - 16:59:58

Over 40 groups engaged in cross-border outreach work are to benefit from funding of €1.1m, it was confirmed today.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said over €1,113,250 would be paid out of the Department’s Reconciliation fund to aid 42 groups engaged in cross-community work.

“The vital work carried out by these community organisations gives life to the values of partnership, mutual respect and tolerance, espoused by the Good Friday Agreement. Each of the projects receiving funding today is contributing in a real and practical way to the promotion of good relations and the development of a new era of peace and partnership on this island and between Ireland and Britain,” he said.

Mr Ahern said the funding would go to projects including, Dreamscheme, in Carnany, Co Antrim, which works to divert youths away from anti-social behaviour.

He said: “The ’peace talks’ programme organised by the Meath Peace Group make a real difference to people’s view of the political process and promotes good community relations. The group also continues to work with schools and other organisations on both sides of the border to give people an opportunity to speak about their views in an open and sympathetic manner.”

Since 1999, the Foreign Affairs Department has awarded grants of around €17.5m to over 500 groups involved in a wide range of cross-community and cross-border reconciliation activities.

Some of the groups to benefit under the latest funding scheme includes the Ardoyne Youth group, which received €35,000, and the Ballybeen Women’s Centre, which was granted €10,000.

A grant of €100,000 was given to Co-operation Ireland which is one of the largest organisations in Ireland working to promote reconciliation.

Around €50,000 was given to the Cross Border Orchestra, which was set-up in 1995, and is made up of 130 Catholic and Protestant 12 to 24-year-olds from the border counties.

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