Progress on interfaces crucial part of lasting peace jigsaw: Ford
Department of Justice
29 October 2014
Justice Minister David Ford has addressed delegates at the Forum for Cities in Transition international conference in Belfast.
The fifth annual Forum for Cities in Transition conference is being held in Belfast for the first time and this year’s theme is ‘promoting reconciliation through resilience’ brings together delegates from 15 cities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the course of this week to learn, explore and share their challenges and successes.
Addressing delegates on the third day of the conference, David Ford said: “We continue to make positive strides in our efforts to tackle community tension at interfaces and move towards the creation of a safe, secure and shared future by addressing the issues of prejudice and division.
“Regrettably the recent trouble at the interface in East Belfast highlights the importance of dealing with the underlying problems in interface communities if continued progress is to be made in the removal of interface barriers.
“I utterly condemn the recent violence, which highlights the need for not only community leadership but consistent and sustained political leadership if we are to deliver economic, social, community and physical renewal within interface areas.”
The Minister continued: “Progress within interface communities is a crucial part of the peace jigsaw in Northern Ireland and as you will have seen from your visits in north and west of Belfast this week a lot of positive work is underway on the ground.
“However whilst we have made small steps forward on this issue, there is still a large body of work to do to keep it moving in the right direction. My officials are working closely with other Executive departments, statutory authorities and local community groups to give this process momentum. In particular I want to praise the work of the International Fund for Ireland funded Peace Wall Programme.
“The work undertaken by community groups under this programme, such as Duncairn Community Partnership, is valued and essential, transforming local areas that have witnessed significant cross community strife in the recent past to ones which are capable of embracing a shared, rather than divided society.”
The Minister was a key speaker at the plenary workshop on ‘Strategic focus on community work at interfaces’ at Farset International Hotel Belfast, he shared a panel with Adrian Johnston – Chair of International Fund of Ireland and Peter Osborne – Chair Community Relations Council NI.
- More information on the Forum for Cities in transition project is available online at http://citiesintransition.net/
- For media queries on the Justice Minister’s attendance at the event contact DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6139.