Minister Andrews announces £500000 grant to Cooperation Ireland
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews, T.D., today announced that the Government was granting £250,000 in 1999 and 2000 to Cooperation Ireland.
Speaking at the announcement in Castle High School in Belfast the Minister said "Cooperation North, as Cooperation Ireland was formerly known, has demonstrated over 20 years what can be achieved through practical cooperation. The development of partnerships are essential in making the Good Friday agreement work. A vital element of this will be partnership between government and non-government organisations. Organisations like Cooperation Ireland have the experience and knowledge to make an important contribution to the building of a peaceful future for all the people of this island."
During his visit to Belfast the Minister also had lunch with Cecil Walker M.P.. The Minister paid tribute to Mr Walker, noting that he has focussed with determination and commitment to encourage development and prosperity in North Belfast to the practical benefit of his constituents. The Minister emphasised the need to respect the diverse traditions on the island of Ireland in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding, at the same time concentrate on shared interests and concerns. "We in the South have begun in recent years to try and understand the realities of Unionism and to value its traditions; one way in which we hope to honour our cultural diversity is to develop, in cooperation with the Orange Order, the site of the Battle of the Boyne, a place sacred in the Unionist tradition. It would be fitting if this site could become a shining example of partnership and cooperation. We need a politics of cooperation, not of conflict; we need a politics not of bombs and bullets, but of bread and butter."
The Minister also visited Ballysillan, Legoniel and other areas of North Belfast.
The Minister's visit concluded with a call to the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre in the city centre. At the centre, Minister Andrews met with representatives of the Commission for the Administration of Justice, the anti Sectarian trade union organisation Counteract, Expac (a cross-community organisation of ex-prisoners) and the Northern Ireland Community Development Association. The Minister praised the work done by voluntary organisations, saying "Work that often seems unsung, unnoticed or unrewarded is immensely valuable; it is the basis for the big dates and big achievements that are recorded in History; it is the work that enables people to put their trust in each other and overcome divisions."Top