The Reconciliation Fund
The Reconciliation Fund was established in 1982 to support civil society organisations in creating a better understanding between people and traditions on the island of Ireland, and between Ireland and Britain.
More than €65 million has been disbursed to over 3,000 projects over four decades.
The Reconciliation Fund awards grants to organisations working to build better relations within and between traditions in Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between Ireland and Britain. The majority of grants are awarded to groups working within Northern Ireland.
The Reconciliation Fund plays an important role in supporting the Government’s approach to working with all communities and political traditions, to take up the significant opportunities of deeper co-operation and connection on the island.
The Good Friday Agreement explicitly recognises the essential role that the community and voluntary sector plays in working towards reconciliation and mutual understanding:
"The participants recognise and value the work being done by many organisations to develop reconciliation and mutual understanding and respect between and within communities and traditions, in Northern Ireland and between North and South, and they see such work as having a vital role in consolidating peace and political agreement.”
– Good Friday Agreement, 1998
As part of reaffirming a continued commitment to promoting reconciliation, the Irish Government significantly increased funding available for peace and reconciliation work after the Good Friday Agreement. In the 25 years since the Reconciliation Fund has grown significantly in size, with over €5 million available in 2022.
The Fund awards grants to 120-200 projects each year, supporting initiatives across the community, voluntary, and higher education sectors. The Fund also operates a multi-annual grants scheme, with commitments over three years.
The amounts awarded vary considerably. While the typical grant is around €25,000, awards can vary from as small as €2,000, or, in the case of two or three organisations, in the region of €300,000-€400,000.
Through the Reconciliation Fund, the Department of Foreign Affairs seeks to support projects which have the capacity to:
- Repair those issues which lead to division, conflict, and barriers to a deeply reconciled and peaceful society;
- Build a strong civil society that encompasses all communities, through the continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement (and subsequent Agreements) and promoting a rights-based society, political stability and respect for all.
Below are examples of the kinds of project areas that the Reconciliation Fund seeks to support:
- Dialogue programmes that seek to build understanding between peoples and traditions within Northern Ireland and on a North-South basis
- Initiatives that promote inter-community links and reduce segregation in Northern Ireland, including in the area of integrated education
- Programmes that address the legacy of violence during the Troubles
- Projects that specifically target sectarianism, and which are aimed at eliminating sectarianism from society
- Initiatives that help tackle paramilitarism in local communities
- Programmes that develop the role of women in peace-building and civic and political life, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and which build their capacity to take their rightful place as leaders in society
- Exploration of issues around identity (including language and other cultural traditions) in ways that promote understanding, tolerance and inclusivity, or help to recognise the common aspects of traditions and identities shared by different groups.
The Reconciliation Fund plays an essential role in demonstrating the Government’s commitment to peace and reconciliation in a practical and tangible way on the island of Ireland.
For detailed information about applying to the Reconciliation Fund, please visit www.dfa.ie/reconciliation.
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