The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, visited Londonderry today, Wednesday, to affirm support for the A5 road project and to announced his decision to provide €2.5 million for the North West Gateway Initiative.
As part of his visit he stopped off at the Holywell Centre, where many of the NGOs which operate from the Centre have received funding under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation fund, including the Holywell Consultancy, a social economy company which empowers community and voluntary sector organisations, Towards Understanding and Healing, The Junction, Foyle Womens’ Information Network and REACH Across.
In addition, the Minister visited the Museum of Free Derry, where he met members of the Bloody Sunday Trust, and the Apprentice Boys of Derry new Siege Museum, both long-standing partners of the Reconciliation Fund.
Minister Flanagan also addressed political, academic, civic society and business leaders.
“The agreement reached at Stormont yesterday is entitled ‘A Fresh Start’. During my visit to Derry today I was pleased to announce the Government’s contribution to that fresh start in this region, including the facilitation of the first phase of the A5 road from Derry to Strabane and the provision of €2.5 million in support of the Northwest Gateway Initiative,” he said.
“I am confident that these investments will make a contribution to releasing the economic potential of Derry and Donegal.
“While here, I met with many local political, community, academic, and business leaders, to hear from them their concerns and vision for this city. I also met and paid tribute to the work of the PSNI, in protecting the people of Derry and our wider island. The hard work of all has helped to transform Derry into the vibrant, forward-looking community it is today.
“I met with a number of Reconciliation Fund partners and participated in the launch of the new strategy of the International Fund for Ireland, where I reaffirmed the Government’s support for the Fund, whose origins were in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, whose 30th anniversary was celebrated in recent days and which formally acknowledged the Irish Government’s role in Northern Ireland.
“The sustained engagement of Reconciliation and IFI partner organisations makes an important contribution to progress experienced in the North West,” The Irish Minister said.
The Minister participated in the launch of the International Fund for Ireland’s strategy 2016-2020. This is built on four programmes: the extension of its existing Peace Walls Programme; the extension of the Peace Impact Programme; a new Personal Youth Development Programme; and, a Shared Education Programme.