Local Authorities

Story of PEACE Key Themes Local Authorities

Key Themes

Local Authority led PEACE funded programmes

Participants from the PEACE IV funded dare to lead change project

Context

Local Government is run by Local Councils/Authorities and managed by councillors who are democratically elected every four years in Northern Ireland and every five years in Ireland. Local Councils are the closest and most accessible form of Government to people in their local community and their functions include local economic and cultural development, leisure and community services, building control and planning, waste and recycling functions. 

Local Councils within the PEACE Programme eligible area are detailed in the map[1] below:

 

Local Government Reform

In June 2002 the Northern Ireland Executive established a Review of Public Administration (RPA) to assess the arrangements for the accountability, development, administration and delivery of public services. Among its recommendations were a reduction in the number of councils.

In 2005 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced plans to reduce the number of councils to seven however there was suspension to the reform[2] programme due to a lack of cross community support, and elections in 2011 were held to the existing twenty-six Council model. In 2012, the Northern Ireland Executive published its Programme for Government (PfG)[3] with plans to ‘establish the new 11 Council model for Local Government by 2015’ to make local government stronger and more cost effective.

In October 2012, the Irish Government unveiled a series of reform proposals for Local and Regional Government entitled: Putting People First[4]. This included proposals for the abolition of Town Councils, the mergers of certain Local Authorities and the re-configuration of the eight Regional Authorities and two Regional Assemblies into three Regional Assembly structures.

The six border Councils in Ireland are: (1) Cavan County Council; (2) Donegal County Council; (3) Leitrim County Council; (4) Louth County Council; (5) Monaghan County Council; and (6) Sligo County Council.

The eleven Councils in Northern Ireland are: (1) Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; (2) Ards and North Down Borough Council; (3) Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council; (4) Belfast City Council; (5) Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council; (6) Derry and Strabane Council; (7) Fermanagh and Omagh Council; (8) Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council; (9) Mid and East Antrim Council; (10) Mid Ulster District Council; (11) Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

 

PEACE Programme Contribution

Local Councils received and administered funding under the following PEACE Programme priorities:

  • PEACE I:
    • Sub-Programme 2: Urban & Rural Regeneration
      • Measure 1A and 1B Urban and Village renewal and tourism
    • Sub Programme 6: District Partnerships.
      • Sub Priority 6.1 Partnerships.
  • PEACE II:
    • Priority 2: Social Integration, Inclusion and Reconciliation:
      • Measure 2.11 Area-Based Urban Regeneration – Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and Regional Towns.
    • Priority 3: Locally based Regeneration and Development Strategies.
      • Measure 3.1 NI Local Economic Initiatives for Developing the Social Economy.
      • Measure 3.2 NI Locally-based Human Resource, Training and Development Strategies.
      • Measure 3.3 Building Better Communities.
      • Measure 3.4 Improving our Rural Communities.
  • PEACE III:
    • Priority 1: Reconciling Communities:
      • Theme 1.1 Building positive relations at the local level – Local Authority Action Plans; and Regional Projects.
    • Priority 2: Contributing to a Shared Society:
      • Theme 2.1 Creating shared public spaces.
      • Theme 2.2 Key institutional capacities are developed for a shared society.
  • PEACE IV:
    • Specific Objective 2: Children and Young People:
      • Action 2.2 Local Authority led Children and Young People projects (0-24 years).
    • Specific Objective 3: Shared Spaces and Services.
      • Action 3.2 Local Authority Shared Spaces Projects.
    • Specific Objective 4: Building Positive Relations
      • 1 Local Authority Action Plans.

 

PEACE I Programme

Local Authorities/County Councils have played a significant role in the implementation of the PEACE Programmes. The European Commission[5] made it clear at the outset of the PEACE I Programme that ‘local authorities, business, trade unions and voluntary associations, should be involved in shaping and implementing the programme'.

The PEACE I Programme focus on decentralised delivery mechanisms was, at the time, a unique and innovative approach: ‘The Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation is an imaginative response to the needs of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland arising from a prolonged period of conflict. It is appropriate that the means of delivering this Programme should be equally innovative'.[6]

Whilst these decentralised delivery mechanisms were costly and took longer than expected to implement, they resulted in a genuine bottom-up involvement in the delivery of the Programme: ‘Although more costly, the decentralised approach was more effective in terms of community empowerment, targeting disadvantaged groups and promoting social inclusion, all of which are consistent with the objectives of the Peace Programme’[7].

They also provided a forum for discussion for political, statutory and community representatives who might not otherwise have met. For the first time elected representatives from all political parties put aside their political differences to come together to plan and make decisions about the allocation of funds. This dialogue continued at a Programme level, when at the macro level political discussions had frequently broken down.

 

PEACE I local delivery structures

Ireland local delivery structures

In Ireland, County Council-led Task Forces (CCTF) were set up in the six border counties. Each Task Force was representative of County Enterprise Boards, Area Partnerships, Regional Tourism Organisations and community and voluntary based groups and had responsibility for the identification and approval of projects.

Funds allocated to the CCTFs under the PEACE I Programme reflected the needs of the particular geographical areas. The CCTFs were responsible for the administration of Sub-Programme 2(C), Measure 1A and 1B; Urban and Village renewal and tourism, which were aimed at community-based neighbourhood revitalisation including heritage and cultural tourism related actions, the development of derelict sites, street landscaping and works for the conservation of significant buildings. The provision of good infrastructure in towns and villages was considered essential to encourage investment and to give a boost to the ordinary everyday life of residents. Such upgrading works also contributed significantly to attracting tourism and its economic spin-offs.

As detailed in the Closure report of PEACE I[8], projects approved included the implementation of environmental improvement projects in many towns and villages throughout the border counties, the provision of sports and playground facilities and conservation works to buildings of significant architectural and heritage value. As a result of Measures 1A and 1B there was 'greater confidence in the communities living in these areas and it generated and heightened local interest and involvement in the Programme’[9].

 

Northern Ireland local delivery structures

Created under the PEACE I Programme in 1995, the completely new structure of District Partnerships in Northern Ireland represented a high-risk socio-political experiment. The idea was that the ‘capacities for local decision taking which might have been weakened through 25 years of conflict will be boosted. In this initiative, the means may be considered as important as the end’[10].

Considering the long history of deep division and conflict, attaining agreement to work in partnership was not without its challenges, and was met with suspicion and mistrust from all political parties in Northern Ireland. The European Union carried out much work with the three Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), John Hume (SDLP), Ian Paisley (DUP) and John Taylor (UUP), and from 1989, Jim Nicholson (UUP) building the groundwork for the PEACE I Programme[11]. John Hume stated that peace and reconciliation funding provided for important work at grassroots level with the District Partnerships ‘helping to build trust between the different sections of the North’s communities, which was vital for a lasting peace’[12].

The area-based delivery structures of the twenty-six District Partnerships in Northern Ireland (corresponding to each of the district council areas[13]) were responsible for the administration of almost £46.7m in PEACE I. A separate Sub-programme was established for District Partnerships in Northern Ireland with funding allocated in relation to ‘deprivation and population’ demonstrating the commitment of the PEACE Programme to tackle disadvantage. Funding was to be distributed across four Programme priorities, Employment, Urban and Rural Regeneration, Social Inclusion and Productive Investment and Industrial Development[14]

In reflecting the interests of the local area, each District Partnership comprised one-third each local councillors, voluntary/community and business/trade union and statutory organisations. The aim of the each of the District Partnerships was to prepare and implement local strategic/action plans detailing social and economic projects to best meet the needs of the Programme[15]. The strategies and action plans were then approved by the Northern Ireland Partnership Board (NIPB)[16], a central board established to manage the PEACE Programme funding to the District Partnerships. It was anticipated that by working through a partnership approach with principles of cooperation, social dialogue, trust building, participation and social inclusion, agreement could be reached between Unionist and Nationalist communities.

In a communication from the European Commission of the European Communities (1997)[17] to the European Parliament it noted that ‘the District Partnerships constitute a working model of local cooperation, which involves political representatives across the spectrum who put aside their differences on other matters for the sake of their communities.…..In a region where opportunities to work together have been too few, the PEACE Programme has provided important structures and incentives which have encouraged cooperation. This has been most notably demonstrated in the case of the District Partnerships. The result has been that people can see directly the value of a stable society, and the value of using argument and debate to tackle differences, rather than other more destructive paths’.

The three MEPs, (Paisley, Hume and Nicholson, 1997)[18] gave an early assessment of the PEACE Programme in their report to Jacques Santer (EC President): ‘There can be no doubt that the partnership element of the Special Peace and Reconciliation Programme has been a major success. The concept had been conceived of as an experiment, initially in the economic development context, later extended to other social spheres, with the objective of stimulating co-operation between communities and different interest groups, including district councils at local level … Partnerships have made the most obvious contribution to the Programme’s basic objectives of peace and reconciliation’.

The Irish Times (1997)[19] reported that the MEPs were to ‘welcome especially the concept of "partnerships" which aim to provide a focus and forum for reconciliation through broad based community participation’.

In the independent evaluation of the PEACE I Programme[20], it was noted that ‘the District Partnerships have managed, in adverse political circumstances to bring together a wide variety of actors (politicians, social partners, administrators, voluntary organisations) to plan local social and economic development plans in a socially inclusive way’.

Reflecting on the work of the PEACE Programmes (Bush and Houston)[21], noted the structure of the PEACE I model in using District Partnerships for administering PEACE funding as helpful, with District Partnership funding increased during PEACE I from 14% to 24%. The Local Authority structures were maintained and developed throughout the remaining PEACE Programmes since they supported and facilitated bottom-up engagement in peace building activities. ’This partnership approach to decision-making was as much a part of the peace-building process as the funding itself’[22].

 

PEACE II Programme

By way of preparation for PEACE II, the EU commissioned a socio-economic review or ‘ex-ante evaluation’[23] of Northern Ireland which found that ‘There was a need to break down community divisions and encourage cross-community contact, providing the basis for long-term improvement in Northern Ireland’s economic and social conditions’[24].

District Partnerships were incorporated into Local Strategy Partnerships (LSPs) during PEACE II and as a structure they ‘were envisaged as having durability beyond the imperatives of peace and reconciliation’[25].

Consistent with the District Partnership model under PEACE I, LSPs were charged with the administration of PEACE II funding and were comprised of twenty-six area-based delivery mechanisms made up of an equal partnership between the following strands:

  • Local Government and the main statutory agencies operating at a local level; and
  • The four pillars of Social Partners – private sector; trade unions; community and voluntary sectors; agriculture and rural development sector.

The PEACE II Operational Programme stated that the resources from the Programme should be allocated to LSPs, under Priority 3, on the basis of a formula based on ‘population weighted by deprivation’[26]. Financial support of €86m was allocated for the following measures to be administered by the Northern Ireland LSPs:

  • Measure 3.1 NI Local Economic Initiatives for Developing the Social Economy.
  • Measure 3.2 NI Locally-based Human Resource, Training and Development Strategies.

In the border counties, the same local delivery mechanism was used for PEACE II as that used under PEACE I with six County Council-led Task Forces (CCTF). An allocation of €16.95m was provided for the following measures for the Border Region’s CCTFs:

  • Measure 3.3 Building Better Communities.
  • Measure 3.4 Improving our Rural Communities.

LSPs had evolved from but were different to the District Partnerships from PEACE I, having wider and greater autonomy in decision-making and involved in mainstream policy and economic development. Unlike the District Partnership model, the PEACE II Programme extended the scope from funding provider to include elements of Community Planning[27]. The role of the LSP was to 'enable a bottom-up approach by developing a local area strategic plan as a framework for the sustainable, regeneration and development of their area’[28]. CCTF were tasked with the implementation of ‘County Development Strategies’ in the border counties as part of an integrated local strategy planning process.

With PEACE II the introduction of the Distinctiveness Criteria[29] arrived, which both challenged and encouraged projects to proactively target areas, groups and sectors affected by the conflict and to promote activities that would address the legacy of the conflict and/or take opportunities arising from peace[30]. LSPs sought specific guidance on the Distinctiveness Criteria which enabled the LSPs, with detailed knowledge of local communities, to function more flexibly in selecting the best projects to address local needs. The Distinctiveness Criteria was ‘broadly welcomed’ by LSPs and had 'a significant impact in terms of peace and reconciliation focus of their projects’[31]. In relation to how well the Distinctiveness Criteria had been implemented it was concluded[32] that it was ‘fully integrated into the selection process …. generally effective in distinguishing those projects that make a direct contribution to the peace process.’

A mid-term evaluation of LSPs[33] found that ‘insufficient indicator information makes it difficult to assess the impact of the Local Strategy Partnership; however, there is evidence of improved community relations and improved confidence in the future.’ It concluded that ‘the LSPs have delivered relatively high added value in their delivery’ of Measures 3.1 and 3.2. Over 1,350 projects were supported by the LSPs and CCTFs[34].

An overarching evaluation[35] of the contribution made by LSPs from their inception to the end of 2008 was undertaken which reported that the building of relationships within and between communities was regarded as a key component of the legacy of LSPs. It was considered that the partnerships and relationships that were built would extend beyond the life of the majority of the LSPs, ‘the development of such long-term relationships as a direct impact of the work of LSPs was regarded as a key and long-term contributor to the theme of reconciliation.’

The formation of the LSPs led to a growth in partnership working across Northern Ireland, in areas such as community safety, district policing and neighbourhood renewal. Focusing on the contribution to peace and reconciliation by LSPs one consultee noted: 'representatives from across divided communities worked closely together in LSPs for the good of their overall community made it easier for the politicians at a Northern Ireland level to work together without feeling that they would be ill-judged by their respective communities for "consorting with the enemy" [36].

An evaluation of the PEACE II County Council-Led Taskforces (CCTFs) found that support was targeted on particular areas, geographical communities and sectors rather than on particular target groups with evidence of tangible and intangible impacts[37]. Tangible impacts included enhanced levels of community infrastructure, town centre regeneration, job creation and greater cultural awareness. Intangible impacts included a greater sense of community pride, positive health impacts and greater understanding of the legacy of the conflict. The report highlighted the difficulty faced by CCTFs in applying Distinctiveness Criteria within border counties and concluded by providing recommendations for training/guidance on the interpretation and application of the Peace and Reconciliation criteria.

A review of previous PEACE II evaluation reports[38] found that a consistent issue highlighted throughout in measuring the peace and reconciliation impact of the PEACE II programme was that of the difficulty in deciphering the Distinctiveness Criteria. Whilst the Distinctiveness Criteria highlighted the importance of distinguishing the PEACE II Programme from other economic and social European Structural Fund (ESF) Programmes, ‘a degree of confusion existed over what reconciliation actually meant and how it could be addressed' [39]. Consequently, during the PEACE II Programme extension (2004-2006), SEUPB adopted the working definition of reconciliation arrived at through a process of consultation and research[40] which involved five interwoven and related strands; i.e. 1. Developing a shared vision of an interdependent and fair society; 2. Acknowledging and dealing with the past; 3. Building positive relationships; 4. Significant cultural and attitudinal change; and 5. Substantial social, economic and political change. For the PEACE II extension greater emphasis on peace building was made involving an increase to the weighting for the reconciliation component within the project selection process. At the culmination of projects, LSPs and CCTFs were required to complete Peace Distinctiveness reports to monitor and assess progress towards peace and reconciliation however this did prove difficult to measure.

 

PEACE III Programme

The PEACE III Programme continued to place a strong emphasis on reconciliation. Having embraced ‘A Working Definition of Reconciliation’[41] and integrated it into the design of the Programme itself, it aimed to achieve maximum impact on reconciliation from available funding. The aim was that larger scale project applications would be strategically tied to the key policy aim of the programme and integrated fully into the work of the Local Authorities.

PEACE III was developed against the backdrop of formulation difficulties and challenges within the Northern Ireland Executive in the areas of community relations. In particular, difficulties had been experienced in gaining cross-party support for policy initiatives such as ‘A Shared Future’[42], the Victims’ Strategy and the Review of Public Administration (RPA)[43]. The commitment made under the Programme for Government for a new Good Relations Strategy was eventually published in 2011 – Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC)[44] and enacted in legislation in Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014[45]. The legislation provided the high-level framework for the operation of Community Planning[46] - a process to develop and implement a shared vision for local Council areas to plan and deliver better services, for which LSPs acted as an advisory group[47].

The PEACE III mid-term evaluation [48] noted that ‘elected representatives, statutory governmental bodies, the private sector and voluntary organisations worked in partnership in the decision-making process, as part of a decentralised approach to develop and put in place multi-annual strategic plans for their own local area, in and around the topics and themes of the PEACE Programme’.

The PEACE III model of using Local Authority partnerships was designed around a reduced number of Councils (PEACE Clusters) and building upon the partnership model from PEACE I and PEACE II. The partnership model of working contributed to the RPA in Northern Ireland[49]. The RPA led to the formation of the agreed eleven Council model. The map within the PEACE III Mid Term Evaluation report [50], outlines the PEACE III PEACE Clusters (see Table 1) compared to the eleven District Councils in Northern Ireland (see Table 2). There were instances where some Councils retained their PEACE Cluster partnerships in the formation of new Councils, but for others this partnership relationship was severed, and in some instances their lead partner was lost to a new Council, reducing the effectiveness of already established relationships.

In the main however, local delivery structures were strengthened with the development of the larger cluster regions. PEACE III supported seven PEACE Clusters and a standalone Belfast PEACE Partnership in Northern Ireland and six County Council led partnerships in the border counties of Ireland i.e. fourteen PEACE III Partnerships (as opposed to 32 LSP and CCTF areas) for a more efficient and effective mainstreamed structure and sustainable remit. As noted in the mid-term evaluation [51] ‘The reduced number of implementing bodies at a local level provides a more streamlined and coordinated approach to the delivery of services.’

 

Table 1: PEACE III Programme – Northern Ireland PEACE Clusters

PEACE Cluster Name

Councils

1. Belfast PEACE Partnership

Belfast City Council (Lead)

2. Lisburn-Castlereagh PEACE Partnership

Lisburn City Council (Lead), Castlereagh Borough Council

3. North West PEACE Partnership

Derry City Council (Lead), Omagh District Council, Strabane District Council

4. Southern PEACE Partnership

Newry and Mourne District Council (Lead), Armagh City Council, Craigavon Borough Council, Banbridge District Council

5. North Down PEACE Partnership

North Down Borough Council (Lead), Down District Council, Ards Borough Council

6. CAN PEACE Partnership

Newtownabbey Borough Council (Lead), Carrickfergus Borough Council, Antrim Borough Council

7. North East PEACE Partnership

Coleraine Borough Council (Lead), Ballymoney Borough Council, Ballymena Borough Council, Larne Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council, Moyle District Council

8. South West PEACE Partnership

Magherafelt District Council (Lead), Cookstown District Council, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, Fermanagh District Council

 

Table 2: Northern Ireland - Eleven Council Model

Council Name

Council Area

Belfast District

Belfast City, parts of Castlereagh and Lisburn

Lisburn City and Castlereagh District Council

Major parts of Lisburn and Castlereagh

Derry City and Strabane District Council

Derry City and Strabane

Armagh City and Bann District Council

Armagh City and District, Banbridge and Craigavon

Newry City and Down District Council

Down, Newry and Mourne

Ards and North Down District Council

Ards and North Down

Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council

Antrim and Newtownabbey

Causeway Coast District Council

Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Fermanagh and Omagh

Mid Antrim District Council

Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne

Mid Ulster District Council

Cookstown, Dungannon, South Tyrone and Magherafelt

Working in partnership with communities, the PEACE III Partnerships developed local ‘Peace and Reconciliation Local Action Plans’ (LAPs) - a total of twenty-eight LAPs were developed, split cross two phases i.e. Phase 1 (x14) and Phase 2 (x14). These partnerships enabled local people to develop and implement local action plans that promoted peace and reconciliation within their areas. The plans were innovative in developing local peace building relationships and used sports, music, arts and culture to engage local people in discussion and dialogue. Their work in addressing sectarianism and racism engaged young and old people through inter-generational projects, developed the leadership skills of local authority elected members and community leaders and delivered diversity training and awareness for the business community in a cross-border context.

Key issues of division, segregation, community tensions and contested space within cities and rural areas were highlighted within the LAPs and a contribution was made to addressing such issues in the backdrop of the Northern Ireland Executive’s CSI[52] Policy. Research[53] noted that 'many of the PEACE III action plans produced by local authority “clusters” do make reference to forms of contested space, with a general commitment to undertaking work in such areas to counter tensions, reduce segregation and increase “shared space”’.

Through the PEACE LAPs Local Authorities contributed to the move towards towns, villages and cities being seen as welcoming, safe and inclusive environments for local people and visitors. Major PEACE II investment with Measure 3.4 Improving our Rural Communities (border counties) created conditions where tourism and economic development enabled areas to thrive. Environmental improvements including enhanced shop fronts, landscaping and lighting within towns and villages supported an increased number of people shopping and visiting town centres[54]. There are still challenges to transform shared spaces into integrated and pluralist places within cities, not only because of physical barriers known as ‘peace-lines’[55], but also within towns and villages particularly during the parading season[56].

In respect of towns and villages, research [57] noted the differing attitudes and experiences of daily life from their study which included two rural villages, one predominantly Unionist and one predominantly Nationalist, with close geographical proximity. The study outlined how segregation impacts on aspects of everyday life, in some areas there were positive signs of mixing and sharing whereas in others the legacy of the past dominated the wider social environment.

There was evidence that some of the Local Authorities had attempted to address difficult issues of sectarianism, racism and segregation [58]. For example, the Southern PEACE Cluster demonstrated a desire to take risks, in terms of ground-breaking work to engage with paramilitary groups and polarised communities through the use of Community Liaison Officers. Increased contact and dialogue had occurred in relation to the use of flags and emblems in order to promote equality and improve good relations in the cluster area. The Southern PEACE Cluster was also proactive in targeting minority groups to promote inclusion and integration of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities. In addition, the Belfast Good Relationships Partnership under the ‘Transforming Contested Space’ Theme demonstrated that progress was made to reduce barriers, remove paramilitary murals and to reduce inter-community tensions and conflict in communities located at interfaces. Belfast City Council created a Good Relations Unit, charged with the task of developing policy and ensuring the Council met its requirements under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act[59] – a strong public policy commitment to promoting good relations across the city through investment in projects to foster inter community dialogue and integration.

To increase the reach of funding, the local PEACE Clusters and County Council lead partnerships dispersed funding to local community and voluntary groups via a Small Grants Scheme and a Resource Allocation Model, focusing funding on geographically defined areas and developing social and economic relationships within these areas. The Resource Allocation Model enabled the provision of funding to groups to deliver PEACE projects and focus on outcomes but removed from them the onerous task of grant administration and reporting requirements, which were taken care of by the Lead Partner. All administration and procurement was undertaken by a designated community organisation, acting as Lead Partner delivering the Resource Allocation Model. The approach proved to be effective in terms of ensuring small scale projects at the grass roots level continued. This was a genuine bottom-up involvement in delivery and focus on developing skills and capacities at a local level, creating a legacy of the Peace Programme and a sustainable structure for peacebuilding.

The Mid-Term Evaluation[60] concluded that ‘clustering approach has been effective with aims and targets met and in many cases surpassed … and it has contributed to increasing the capacity of local councils to take advantage of imminent local government reforms in Northern Ireland and Ireland’.

Overall, the PEACE Clusters and County Council led partnerships gave wide geographic reach to the PEACE III Programme, which ensured that disadvantaged communities were targeted across the entire eligible area.

In an overall evaluation of PEACE I, II and III Programmes 1995-2013, Local Action Plans (LAPs) were among some of the most notable projects outlining good practice. ‘These partnerships between the public, private and community sectors developed and implemented Action Plans to address sectarianism, racism, conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation at a local level’[61]. Specific mention was made of the LAPs and projects from Belfast, the North West and Monaghan partnerships.

 

PEACE IV Programme

The locally driven approach continued in PEACE IV. Local Authorities across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland were invited to apply for funding to develop Action Plans for their areas, to address three of the four strategic objectives of the PEACE IV Programme, specifically:

  • Theme 2.2 Children and Young People aged 0-24.
  • Theme 3.2 Local Authority Shared Spaces.
  • Theme 4.1 Building Positive Relations at the Local Level.

The roll out of PEACE IV included the administration and delivery of sixteen Local Authority Action Plans (LAPs) for which there was a €81.17m allocation (32% of the overall budget for PEACE IV). Belfast City Council, representing the highest budget allocation (21%), followed by Derry City and Strabane (10%), the remaining LAs each averaged 5% of the budget. Community and voluntary groups can access funding via local councils providing the visible presence of PEACE IV funding on the ground.

By way of preparation and development of the LAPs, pre-application and thematic workshops were offered by SEUPB to assist prospective applicants in submitting applications of a high standard. As noted in PEACE IV implementation evaluation[62] a comprehensive training programme was developed and provided on a regional basis which included:

  • A Local Authority Partnership Guide to support development of PEACE IV Peace and Reconciliation Action Plans.
  • Local Authority workshops, focusing on: Peace and Reconciliation issues (such as racism, sectarianism and conflict resolution); Leadership Skills; Networking.
  • Local Authority Thematic Workshops, to include: (1) Output indicator guidance (2) Accuracy of claims (3) Simplified Cost Options (4) Project reporting and performance (5) Fraud and irregularities, (6) GDPR.
  • Training also aimed to upskill Lead and Project Partners in the creation of standardised monitoring tools and methods to best capture short and medium-term outcomes achieved by projects funded.

The implementation of PEACE IV LAPs is well advanced. SEUPB has commissioned various independent evaluators to carry out Impact Evaluations for each PEACE IV theme, and once complete these reports will be publicly available.

 

Project Examples

The following lists a range of project examples from the PEACE I, PEACE II, and PEACE III Programmes. In addition, a project example involving support from the local authority and a project which was funded by consecutive PEACE Programmes is highlighted below.

PEACE Phase

Report Type

Project Name

Lead Partner/Partnership

PEACE I

Case Study

The Interface Programme

Belfast European Partnership Board

PEACE I

Case Study

Cavan-Monaghan Rural Development Co-op Society

County Cavan Partnership Company Ltd

PEACE I

Case Study

Peace Play - A Person's View of Peace and Reconciliation

Fermanagh District Partnership

PEACE I

Case Study

Letterkenny Town Park

Letterkenny Urban District Council

PEACE I

Case Study

Carndonagh Village Renewal

Donegal County Council

PEACE II

Case Study

Strabane Rural Community Development Initiative

Strabane District Council

PEACE III

Case Study

Ledwidge

North West Play Resource Centre/North West Peace Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Peace and Reconciliation Action Plan

Monaghan County Council PEACE III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Community Based Youth Work Consortium

Donegal Youth Service

PEACE II, PEACE III, PEACE IV

Case Study

Connecting People, Places and Heritage

Cavan County Museum

The Consortium – Pobal and the Community Relations Council (CRC), (responsible for PEACE III Priority 1.2 Acknowledging and dealing with the Past) assisted local authorities ‘in the development of programmes that will maximise the contribution towards the Programme objectives’[63] and collated a range of projects outlining the work funded by local authorities during the PEACE III Programme. The case studies show the broad range of methods used successfully, creatively, and effectively to build and sustain peace and reconciliation, addressing sectarianism and racism. Equally evident is the reach of the work, in relation to both the age range of participants, and the communities and cultural backgrounds from which they come. The case studies demonstrate and celebrate the achievements of the local Peace III Partnerships, and all the organisations that contributed to reconciling communities and building a shared society.

 

These case study examples are outlined in the table below. 

 

PEACE Phase

Report Type

Project Name

Lead Partner/Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Comhairle na n-Og

Cavan Peace III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

South West Peace PEACE III Partnership (Speedwell Trust Initiative)

Magherafelt District Council

PEACE III

Case Study

Sporting Diversity Project

The Speedwell Trust

PEACE III

Case Study

Communities Sharing

County Monaghan Community Network

PEACE III

Case Study

Older Persons Peace Project

Older Persons Peace Project

PEACE III

Case Study

Sharing Rural Spaces

Omagh Forum for Rural Associations

PEACE III

Case Study

Developing a Shared Society through Youth Sport

Sligo Vocational Educational Committee

PEACE III

Case Study

Roll of Honour

Cavan County Museum

PEACE III

Case Study

Leadership, Citizenship and Good Relations Programme

Workers' Educational Association

PEACE III

Case Study

Faith Based Programme

VMS Consults

PEACE III

Case Study

Using the Arts as a tool to promote greater understanding

Leitrim County Council Arts Office

PEACE III

Case Study

Community Engagement

Banbridge District Council

PEACE III

Case Study

Our Space, Cultural Diversity through Sport

Belfast City Council

PEACE III

Case Study

Community Cohesion Network

Belfast City Council

PEACE III

Case Study

SPIRAL

Diversity Challenges

PEACE III

Case Study

Addressing Institutional Racism and Sectarianism

Louth County Enterprise Board

PEACE III

Case Study

Rules of the Game

Carrickfergus, Antrim, Newtownabbey (CAN) Peace III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Community Transformation Training Programme

Carrickfergus, Antrim, Newtownabbey (CAN) Peace III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Respecting Difference

Early Years - The Organisation for Young Children

PEACE III

Case Study

Good Relations Officer

Leitrim County Council 

PEACE III

Case Study

Dreamscheme Nl

Newtownbreda Baptist Church

PEACE III

Case Study

Reimaging estates

South West Peace III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Urban Peace Project

Sligo RAPID Urban Collective

PEACE III

Case Study

Youth Role Models

Copius Consulting

PEACE III

Case Study

Silent Voices

Sligo County Council, Community and Enterprise Section and Sligo Library Service

PEACE III

Case Study

Port na Failte

Donegal PEACE III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Challenge of Change

Southern PEACE III Partnership

PEACE III

Case Study

Rathgill Shared Futures

Rathgill Community Association

 

Examples of Local Authority PEACE IV Action Plans and local authority funded projects are highlighted below. 

 

PEACE Phase

Report Type

Project Name

Lead Partner/Partnership

PEACE IV

Case Study

Louth County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Louth County Council

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Louth County Council PIV Local Action Plan - Update February 2020

Louth County Council

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Ards and North Down Borough Council PIV Local Action Plan

Ards and North Down Borough Council

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Derry City and Strabane District Council PIV Local Action Plan

Derry City and Strabane District Council

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Derry City and Strabane District Council PIV Local Action Plan - Update April 2021

Derry City and Strabane District Council

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council PIV Local Action Plan 

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

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Mid and East Antrim Borough Council PIV Local Action Plan

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

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Mid Ulster District Council PIV Local Action Plan

Mid Ulster District Council

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Sligo County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Sligo County Council

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Donegal County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Donegal County Council

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Monaghan County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Monaghan County Council

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Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council PIV Local Action Plan

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council PIV Local Action Plan

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

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Cavan County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Cavan County Council

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Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council PIV Local Action Plan

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

PEACE IV

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Leitrim County Council PIV Local Action Plan

Leitrim County Council

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Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council PIV Local Action Plan

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

PEACE IV

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Belfast City Council PIV Local Action Plan

Belfast City Council

PEACE IV

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