Minister Dermot Ahern Announces First Anti-Sectarian Grants
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D., today announced the first allocation of grants from the Department of Foreign Affairs' newly-launched Anti-Sectarianism Fund.
Totalling €390,000, these grants are being made to 8 groups involved in a range of cross-community work.
Announcing the grants at his Department’s Third Reconciliation Forum being held in Dublin Castle for community and other organisations involved in reconciliation work, Minister Ahern said:
“Sectarianism, in all its forms, is not only an attack upon individual victims, but also fundamentally an attack against the values of the shared society that we are building towards. It is vital that we not only eliminate sectarianism but also that we begin to confront the ways of thinking that allow sectarianism to flourish.
“The Irish Government is especially conscious of the important role that community-based organisations can and do play in combating sectarianism. In recognition of this, the Programme for Government contained a commitment to establish an Anti-Sectarianism Fund, specifically to support projects that have been designed to address the root causes of sectarianism.
“The purpose of the Fund is to assist local efforts aimed at tackling sectarianism, supporting projects in communities seeking new and more effective ways of addressing sectarianism and division in society, breaking down the barriers between people caused by religious and cultural differences.
“Having launched the Anti-Sectarianism Fund in Belfast on 27 February last, I am now pleased to announce today the first tranche of awards under this Fund. The projects availing of these awards illustrate the many ways that we can challenge the scourge of sectarianism.
"Whether through education, dialogue or the exploration of culture, we can promote tolerance and acceptance of our cultural diversity. And by breaking down religious, social and cultural barriers, we can extend our knowledge and understanding of each others’ cultures, beliefs and traditions.
“I would encourage groups and individuals with proposals in this area to apply to my Department for funding under this scheme. Together we can hasten an end to sectarianism in our society.”
Note for Editors:
The Anti-Sectarianism Fund was established in the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2008. The purpose of the Anti-Sectarianism Fund is to assist local efforts aimed at tackling sectarianism, supporting projects in communities seeking new and more effective ways of addressing sectarianism and division in society. The overall allocation for 2008 will be €1 million from Subhead F1. Grants will be given to individuals or organisations that are looking to develop new projects that will challenge intolerance and sectarianism and will break down barriers between people caused by religious and cultural differences. Details of the grants announced are attached below.
174 Trust, Belfast
The 174 Trust is a non-denominational community development organisation using former Presbyterian Church buildings as a shared space to encourage and facilitate engagement between the two main traditions in North Belfast. This allocation of funding will go towards the organisation’s core costs. Allocation: €40,000
Clonard Monastery Youth Centre, Belfast
Clonard Monastery Youth Centre have an extensive programme of arts, sports, community relations and group based learning activities targeted at young people aged 10-20. This allocation will go towards ongoing work with young people to prepare them for community relations contact programmes, including a programme to be held with young people from Loyalist North Belfast over a nine-month period. Allocation: €15,000
Football Association of Ireland, Dublin
The FAI in partnership with the Irish Football Association organised an All Island Coaching Conference for over 400 voluntary grassroots football coaches on 25-27 January 2008. This allocation will go towards the costs of an anti-sectarianism programme that was held during the conference and for similar ongoing work in this area over the coming year. Allocation: €25,000
Holy Family Youth Centre, Belfast
Holy Family Youth Centre is a voluntary club based on one of North Belfast’s many interfaces. This funding will go towards a joint project between Holy Family Youth Centre and First Step Drop-in on York Rd, which will seek to engage young people who live on the interface. The project will aim to develop the youths’ understanding of their own culture and other cultures. Allocation: €25,000
Integrated Education Fund, Belfast
The Integrated Education Fund is an independent charitable body providing a financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland. Funding will go towards PACT, a grant-making programme that awards grants to schools to promote the development of skills and relationships that enable pupils, staff, governors and parents to respond with understanding and respect to political, cultural and religious differences. Allocation: €150,000 over two years
Saint's Youth Centre, Belfast
Based in Dunmurry in Belfast, this allocation of funding will go towards the delivery of cross-community contact programme with young people from Ballybeen. This programme will work with 12 young people from each community and will explore participants’ shared history and look forward towards a shared future project. Allocation: €20,000
VOICE Highfield Reconciliation Project, Belfast
Based on Highfield Drive, Belfast, this group’s aims and objectives include victim support, interface management, and cross-community and cross border community relations. Allocation: €40,000
Youthcom works in partnership with parish youth centres to create appropriate settings to facilitate the growth and development of young people in the Diocese of Down and Connor. This allocation will go towards programme elements of a three-year cross-community youth intervention project. It involves eight loyalist youth groups and nationalist youth centres and will entail substantial single identity, preparative programme elements and a cross-community project involving up to 96 young people each year. Allocation: €75,000
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