Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Peace Funding

The lower levels of peace funding entering the protestant community by comparison to the roman catholic community, as reported in the special EU programs body conference yesterday, comes as no surprise to the victims of terrorism within FAIR. The reality of the situation is that groups and organisations with an identity in the Protestant community are more likely to have their applications cut to a position where the project is no longer viable, or in a position to be run to any affect.

It was claimed that a primary reason for this comparative lack of funding is the protestant tendency to be self-supporting and not to look for outside help, but this explanation ignores the demoralised state that many groups are in and the lack of confidence among groups due to the blatant political bias expressed in dealing with applications. There are too many people involved in funding distribution that allow their political leaning to cloud their judgement and to coordinate their actions with regard to the funding of groups, and in particular victims groups.

As a victims group in south Armagh we have been in receipt of EU funding, but each time applications are cut to the bare bones, never allowing sufficient for us to undertake the work of supporting terrorist victims adequately. The fact that we are dealing with one of the largest areas of conflict with one of the highest group memberships and yet we are expected to run projects with less funds than groups that have hardly enough members to fill a minibus.

We would not expect to be successful on every application we submit - and certainly we are not. If this Peace money is intended to help those that have been traumatised and affected by conflict then we certainly would be entitled to more than a certain community group that started up in an area hardly touched by conflict who have received hundreds of thousands of pounds. They tell us we do not have the right buzzwords in the right places on our application forms. That is because the buzzing we know is the sounds of rockets being launched and gunfire. You would think that would be a big enough buzz to justify peace.

It is no wonder that Protestants do not apply when they see a well-organised group such as FAIR being treated the way we are. How can other groups then be expected to want to apply?


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