The Londonderry Sentinel whom God preserve, reported the following story”
“Forum held to encourage Protestant participation”
The Gateway to Protestant Participation (GPP) hosted its second major discussion forum in the Mellon Country Inn, Omagh, with the aim of encouraging Protestant groups to get involved in good relations projects.
OK tell me more.
The GPP is a strategic programme designed to encourage the participation of the Protestant community by promoting a shared sense of belonging and addressing issues of marginalisation and tackling attitudes to racism and sectarianism, at a local level within the North West Peace III Cluster area.
The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the EU programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
The purpose of this discussion forum was to provide an opportunity for Protestant groups, organisations, individuals and key stakeholders to share their views and opinions on Protestant engagement in good relations.
The guest speakers were Dr Jim McAuley, University of Huddersfield, Kate Clifford, Rural Community Network and Rev Earl Storey, who stimulated the discussions with an overview of their opinions and experiences of Protestant participation in both community development and good relations.
The discussion forum was well attended by people from across the four council areas – Londonderry, Strabane, Omagh and Donegal. Those who attended came together in small groups to discuss and explore issues related to and their experiences of good relations in facilitated workshops.
Is that it? Is this anything more than 17 pars of filler? Apart from reporting the Peace superstructure and the man lecturing them from front line Huddersfield etc, what was actually discussed ? Was it too sensitive to report? Was the journalist not allowed in/not present/ rewriting a handout?
What has it told us about the problems of the region? Nothing.
This is NOT journalism. It is NOT the EU Peace Funds being accountable either. Was it anything more than a free night out to be talked at by peace professionals? Did it do any good?
Will we ever know?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London