Impact of European Peace Funding
Community relations work: not easy but necessary
"Peace Programme funding has prompted a movement for change which shouldn't be stopped." says Mark Adair of the Community Relations Council in the preface to a new report commissioned by the Council on the impact of the last four years of the European Peace Peace Programme. "Our's is a journey which has only just begun."
The report, 'Community Relations and Peace Building: What Have We Learned?' by Dr Duncan Morrow of the University of Ulster, is based on interviews with those who received European grant aid from the Community Relations Council. The report comes just as the current phase of European Peace Programme funding comes to an end. In the report Dr Morrow assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Programme, as administered by the Community Relations Council. Community Relations project workers also reflect on progress at a critical moment in the development of thinking about peace-building in Northern Ireland.
In the report Dr Morrow concludes that:
Northern Ireland remains a wounded society, easily made defensive. There is a need to guard against hopelessness in reaction to the scale of ongoing tasks.
The European Peace Programme has created real change in people, in groups and in ways of working, although the threat of traditional patterns of relationship remains.
The Peace and Reconciliation Programme must retain its focus on peace and reconciliation.
Dr Morrow also states that: 'Peace building in Northern Ireland is, and will remain, a long and difficult process. But instead of an expectation that new issues of conflict will not arise, there is now a deeper and wider confidence that these can be dealt with creatively.'
The report is being launched on Thursday 31 August at 11.00 am at the offices of the Community Relations Council, 6 Murray Street, Belfast. Copies of the report are available from CRC.