Co-operation Ireland will deliver an EU- PEACE IV funded project designed to work with former members of the Irish Defence Forces Óglaigh na hEireann, An Garda Síochána and Customs and Excise Officers who served on the border during the conflict.

The aim of the programme is to support ex-service personnel in Donegal and to assist them to deal with legacy issues arising from their service along the border, issues which have not been fully addressed and which have left a residue of emotional, physiological and physical challenges for those involved. Thus, the programme will involve former members of the Irish Defence Forces, An Garda Siochana and Customs and Excise officers. It is intended that the programme will also be extended to include former members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (and Reserve), and British Army, including the Ulster Defence Regiment.

The funding has been secured as part of Donegal County Council’s €5.5m Local Authority Action Plan. This is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Funded projects under the Action Plan will see the promotion of positive relations characterised by respect and where cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialised together free from prejudice, hate and intolerance. Activities will focus on developing strong civic leadership that promotes positive relationships, encourages dialogue and supports practical efforts to bring about change between individuals and communities. Initiatives will be tackling real and complex issues, such as sectarianism and racism in border regions.

Co-operation Ireland Chairman Dr Christopher Moran said; “Legacy issues amongst former service personnel are something that have to be addressed and I am pleased that Co-operation Ireland is able to bring the skills the charity has developed over 40 years to assist in delivering this vital project in conjunction with Donegal County Council.”

Cllr Paul Canning, Chair of Donegal County Council’s PEACE IV Partnership said “On behalf of the PEACE IV Partnership, I am delighted to be in a position to support this Project. This project will work with former members of the Irish Defence Forces Óglaigh na hEireann, An Garda Síochána and Customs and Excise Officers to deal with legacy issues arising from the ‘conflict or troubles’. I wish you every success with the project”.

Recognising the importance of the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB said: “The EU’s PEACE IV Programme provides support for individuals and groups affected by the legacy of the ‘conflict’ or ‘troubles’. It recognises that many people are still suffering from the events of the past and require support, including participants of this project, who represent members of the security forces on both sides of the border who may be living with physical disabilities and/or psychological trauma.”

 Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. The total budget for the programme is €60k.