Churches recruit peace project staff
The Irish Churches Peace Project, a new initiative supported by the largest Christian denominations in Ireland and due to be publically launched in the spring of 2013, is currently recruiting six regional Good Relations Officers.
The officers will be part of a nine strong full-time team facilitating the £1.3m project which is aimed at promoting good relations, reconciliation and peace work at both strategic and grassroots levels across Northern Ireland and in the border counties.
The project is a partnership involving the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, the Church of Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches. It will be funded through the EU's PEACE III Programme which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Additional funding is being provided by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLD) of the Irish Government.
Since 2008 discussions have been taking place between the various denominations as to what the peace process in Ireland requires to ensure its continued success and what unique contribution the churches could make to that.
What emerged was an inter-church project with three main aims.
The first of these aims is to promote sustained and well facilitated cross-community dialogue particularly focusing on the contentious issues that need to be addressed in order to develop good relations and promote reconciliation.
Secondly, to support local inter-church/cross-community groups in their development of new grass rootsinitiatives that will contribute to the lasting peace.
The final aim of the programme is to facilitate a process by which the main denominations speak more frequently in the public sphere with a united voice on social and political issues, and through that to model positive cross-community cooperation and undermine the vestiges of sectarian politics.
With its programme of work agreed and funding in place the "Irish Churches Peace Project" has now moved to recruit six regional Good Relations Officers for a temporary period up to June 2015. They will be based throughout Northern Ireland and in the border counties.
The officers will have responsibility, in particular to support local inter- church groups developing new cross-community initiatives that will contribute to a stable peace and to promote and facilitate cross-community dialogue.
The closing date for applications is Friday 1 February and more information can be found at www.presbyterianireland.org/opportunities
Notes to editors
• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IVA designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG IVA, Western Scotland.
• The PEACE III Programme, funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is worth €333 million and is aimed primarily at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promoting reconciliation. It focuses on helping NorthernIreland and the Border Region of Ireland to reconcile communities and contribute towards a shared society.
• For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu