Written Answers. - Glencree Centre for Reconciliation.

Noel Ahern


195 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the annual and special grant allocation which is or has been made available to the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation over the past four years; his views on the work of the centre; his further views on its future role; and the funding, if any, he has made or will make available to enable the centre to carry on its work in view of the British-Irish Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28285/98]

The participants in the peace process recognised in the British-Irish Agreement the value of the work being done by organisations, such as the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, to develop reconciliation and mutural understanding and respect between and within communities and traditions, in Northern Ireland and on the island.

The Department's Peace and Reconciliation Fund was established in 1982 to assist organisations involved in reconciliation work and in developing a better understanding between people in both parts of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain. Since its establishment, it has funded a variety of organisations which are working in the field of reconciliation, primarily between North and South.

The Glencree Centre for Reconciliation has consistently been one of the largest beneficiaries from the fund, in the years 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 the allocations to Glencree were £95,000, £50,000 and £60,000, respectively. The £95,000 awarded by the Department in 1995 was a once-off capital grant to help with its building programme.

In addition, last year the Department of the Taoiseach contributed £10,000 to Glencree from the Government's 1798 Commemoration Programme.
I am very familiar with, and supportive of, the excellent work undertaken at Glencree and I would expect to be a position to provide them with funding this year.
My officials maintain regular contact with Glencree and have recently invited them to outline their views on its future role. These views, when received, will be given the most careful consideration.