£4.1 million of PEACE III funding invested in the North Eastern area

THE North East PEACE III Partnership, officially launched Phase 2 of its Action Plan at the Rosspark Hotel, Ballymena, last week.

More than 100 participants attended the launch to acknowledge a further investment of £4.1 million PEACE III funding in the North East.

The £4.1 million has been awarded to the Partnership to deliver a number of strategic projects that will focus on building positive relations at a local level.

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This follows on from the £3.6 million previously invested in the North East under Phase 1 of the PEACE III Programme. By the end of 2013 the European Union will have made a substantial investment in peace building in the North East Cluster of Council’s through its considerable investment of £7.6 million.

The projects will cover training, development and support on a diverse range of topics such as reconciliation, leadership, youth and schools, community cohesion, interfaith and inter-Church relations, sport, ethnic minority engagement, culture and arts, cultural awareness and conflict resolution.

Introducing the second Phase of the action plan, Alderman Jack Rankin MBE, Chairman of the North East PEACE III Joint Committee, commented “Phase 1 brought about an unprecedented amount of peace-building activity, which has resulted in a greater understanding and change in attitude towards sectarianism and racism. This has provided an excellent support network for conflict resolution and mediation in the North East.”

Keynote speaker at the event, Rev Dr Johnston McMaster from the Irish School of Ecumenics, remarked: “It is impressive that by the end of Phase 2, European funding will have contributed £7.7 million to this regional cluster. It is an expression of independence and solidarity, which is part of what it now means to be European.”

The North East PEACE III Partnership, led by Coleraine Borough Council, will deliver Phase 2 of the PEACE III Action Plan in the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady, and Moyle council areas. The aim of the plan is to challenge attitudes towards sectarianism and racism and to support conflict resolution and mediation at the local community level.