“still much to be done in those communities that have not previously, or only partially, engaged in peace building and reconciliation activities…”

The Irish Times reports on, what would appear to be, the International Fund for Ireland’s (IFI) response to the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers bullshit distraction about “Building a United Community”.  From the Irish Times report

“The community transformation strategy recognises the new reality on the ground and looks to support communities that are still affected by the threat of violence,” said the IFI chairman Dr Adrian Johnston.

“It is particularly focused on addressing the root causes of sectarianism and, in some cases, is making the first effort to tackle very difficult and sensitive issues,” he added.

Dr Johnston said the IFI was trying to help young alienated people susceptible to the lure of republican and loyalist paramilitary groupings. The IFI was anxious to assist people “that are out of the reach of government, that are not engaging with the statutory authorities”.

“Young people who are not in employment are being attracted to paramilitary activity,” said Dr Johnston. “They are being engaged by paramilitaries. There have been significant numbers in loyalist and republican communities where the young people have embarked on the road of paramilitary activity.”

The IFI’s “three-year strategy” actually began last year, with their “Peace Walls Programme” – as the NI Secretary of State’s reference to “the Fund’s Strategic Framework for Action 2012-2015” suggests.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said:

“”A greater focus on community transformation is now required to address some of the most significant remaining challenges.  I strongly welcome the fact that the Fund’s Strategic Framework for Action 2012-2015 is clearly targeted at some of the most significant remaining challenges to lasting peace and a genuinely shared future.

“I am very pleased that the strategic framework places particular emphasis on delivering real and meaningful community transformation in those parts of the community which continue to be affected by sectarian division.  As indicated in the strategic framework, such interventions are critical to building a truly integrated, shared and peaceful society.”

And, also from the IFI press release

The ‘Community Transformation: Strategic Framework for Action’ is characterised by three specific programmes: Peace Walls Programme (PWP); Peace Impact Programme (PIP); and the Completion and Sustainability Programme.

The Peace Walls Programme was launched in January 2012 and aims to develop and deliver a range of confidence and relationship building interventions within and between interface communities to help residents reach a position where they feel it is safe and appropriate to proceed with the removal of Peace Walls in their area.

The Peace Impact Programme aims to build sustainable peace and prosperity in areas suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation, where there are low levels of engagement in peace building and where the Peace Process has delivered limited benefits. It also places particular emphasis on engaging with disaffected and marginalised young people that are vulnerable to recruitment or attack by paramilitaries.

The strategic aim of the CSP is to complete projects funded under the 2006-2010 Sharing this Space Strategy within agreed timescales and deliver a wide range of sustainable interventions that will continue to produce positive peace building and reconciliation impacts long after the Fund ceases to exist.

Still, there’s nothing like a co-ordinated approach…

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