Cross-border funding

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (Spring 1996), News, Volume 4

Local heritage groups and history projects could soon benefit from a£16 million grant from the Peace and Reconciliation Fund. The money isto go to promoting business and culture in Northern Ireland and the sixsouthern border counties. It is estimated that at least one third ofthe monies will go towards cross-border cultural ventures and thiswould probably work out at £1 million a year. The money is to beadministered by Co-operation North and is to be targeted atcommunity-based groups, particularly those in disadvantaged areas.Co-operation North intend for as many groups as possible to benefitfrom the fund so the emphasis will be on smaller grants. Co-operationNorth, which since 1979 has been promoting joint activities on across-border and cross-community basis, has already been involved inthe funding of initiatives for local history and heritage groups. SligoLiving History Society and Inniskillin Living History Society fromColeraine staged a re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne last yearwhile both the Dublin Heritage Group and the Galway Family HistoryProject were involved in separate projects with the Ulster AmericanFolk Park. In April the Mayo North Family History Research will behosting their annual John O’Hare Weekend and discussing the Ulstermigration to Mayo and the Mayo migration to Meath. Ballyclare andDistrict Historical Society has already been involved with historicalexchanges with the North Mayo Family History Research Centre as well asRathfeigh Historical Society from County Meath.

However as Sean McGearty from Co-operation North stressed, manygroups in the past have been turned down for funding because there arecertain criteria for the exchange funding. Long-term ventures tend tobe preferred since there is not enough resources to fund every crossborder day tripper. The criteria would generally call for the proposalsto be of a cross border, cross community nature, to be based on atheme, to be reciprocal, to have potential for long term development,and if possible to address key issues such as the Battle of the Boyne.The criteria for funding under the Peace and Reconciliation Fund hasyet to be decided but Co-operation North hope to see these in place ina matter of weeks.

Funding is available from Co-operation North for Heritage groupsand Historical societies who wish to have exchanges on a cross-borderand cross-community basis. Societies are encouraged to approach theirown contacts and establish their own links with a compatible group butin the absence of this Co-operation North will assist in finding asuitable exchange partner.

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