Published Tuesday, 17 April 2012
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The STRIPE Project (Stepping Towards Reconciliation in Positive Engagement) received £884,022 from the Special EU Programmes Body.
William McKeown, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said the programme hopes to "allow the Protestant communities to become more comfortable in themselves and feel able to move forward with inter-community and cross-border reconciliation".
"The STRIPE project aims to lead marginalised Protestant communities towards reconciliation through enabling them to understand their identity, evaluate their own experience during the Troubles and to understand how mistrust between the two main communities in Ireland has undermined good relations.
The cash will be used to fund the project until December 2014 and will employ seven full-time staff.
It is envisaged that this will equip the Protestant community with the ability to engage with the wider community and to encourage it to re-engage as equal partners as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland moves forward.
The project will be based in Brownlow House in Lurgan and will specifically address issues in the interface and border areas of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, which the lodge said "suffered disproportionately during the Troubles".
Drew Nelson, Chairman of the Orange Community Network, said the lodge believes there is an imbalance within the Protestant community.
"This project is about capacity building in the Protestant community and we greatly appreciate the support of the Special EU Programmes Body.
"An exciting part of the project will be identifying young leaders, building their capacity and developing their skills so that they can play a full role in shaping society."
The PEACE III Programme promotes the involvement of all sections of society in the reconciliation process and Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body added the STRIPE Project "is indicative of the great progress that has been made in Northern Ireland and Ireland over recent years".
"The project is truly regional in scope and with the planned outreach to over 400 local community groups it has the potential to engage a large number of people in PEACE III Programme related activities," he said.