Below are the hollow reasons provided by the office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister for the rejection of FAIRs application for a Memorial Centre to the victims of the troubles in South Armagh. FAIR are angry that the Government have thrown money at ex-prisoners groups while ignoring the innocent victims created by terrorists:
Aims & Objectives – it was considered that it was a single identity project largely involved in campaigning and not intra-community reconciliation;
Consultation – no evidence provided to confirm that consultation had taken place to establish the need for the project.
Reconciliation – planned activities will not directly promote/encourage reconciliation and mutual understanding between and within communities. Not the primary focus of the Organisation or the project.
Risks – none identified. Applicant did not answer the question instead commented on risks associated with victims such as retraumatisation as opposed to risk associated with the capital project.
Value for Money – the proposed project would appear to give little or no value for money as there was minimal evidence of additional activities to be undertaken. Also the issue of additionality was raised and it was noted that two capital projects have already been supported in the village.
Other Funders – none identified or sought. No consideration appears to have been given to looking for other sources of funding in the event that the project costs increasing or indeed the amount of financial assistance requested not being realised.
Economic Appraisal – the Committee concluded that the economic appraisal provided was irrelevant as it was completed in 2001 and did not include the current proposal. It was noted that the economic appraisal was given as background information not as evidence supporting the application.
Feedback and Further Review - FAIR will also be offered a meeting to explain the Selection Committee’s conclusion and have the right to have the decision reviewed by SEUPB.
RESPONSE FROM FAIR
Aims & Objectives: We were asked about this matter and we explained that while we were nearly a single identify group, we were not exclusively so. The makeup of our group is due to the nature of the conflict in this area and high levels of Republican violence. Should FAIR have to apologise that Loyalists did not kill enough people to facilitate a cross community group in the area?
Consultation: They claimed that there was no evidence of consultation regarding need for the project. As you know Jeffery, we have spoken at length over a number of years to local victims, we have conducted an economic appraisal, we sent over 100 questionnaires to local victims and 100 came back identifying the need for a memorial centre.
Reconciliation: Once again the response has been lies. They claim that we had no planned activities, but yet we have worked on numerous projects with Glencree, Community Dialogue, Local Council and many others. Why should we have to continually justify ourselves while the perpetrators of violence receive funding hand over fist.
Risks: This is the most humorous one. The reply states that we didn’t identify any and we didn’t answer the question. However if they had listened to us we went into detail regarding the potential risks of this project.
Value: I will not insult the memory of the victims by going over this matter again. I have made this point too many times.
Other Funders: Every time we apply for funding we are sent elsewhere with the line “Maybe you should talk to this funding body instead”. Therefore on this occasion we have just decided to see things through. While the Chinese community may be entitled to funding from other sources, I fail to see how they are entitled to funding to do with conflict and how they can say they are working towards peace and reconciliation.
Economic Appraisal: They said our economic appraisal was irrelevant as it was completed in 2001. This appraisal recognised that approx £1 million was needed to facilitate the victims in the area. The only change since then is that the group has become larger and the need has become greater. They also say it was given as background information and not evidence, but it was presented as evidence and it was they who took it as background information.
HELP US TELL THE TRUTH