Last Thursday, September 20, Leitrim County Council officially launched the “Cross Border Agency Collaboration Project”, a Project initiated by County Leitrim PEACE III Partnership and funded through the European Union’s PEACE III Programme 2011- 2013 and managed by Special EU Programmes Body.
The project aims to work with cross border agency partners and organisations from Counties Leitrim Fermanagh and Omagh to ensure that the peace building effort is sustained beyond the peace programme.
Over the past few years there have been many excellent and memorable cross border projects involving communities and organisations from all walks of life. Through this project the cross border partners involved aim to “step it up a bit”. Often projects, and the relationships forged during project implementation, grind to a halt when the project is finished. Without ongoing funding it can be challenging for organisations to keep the work going. This new project will develop collaboration between local authorities, representatives from a number of Government departments and other agencies/ organisations from the three areas, in a way that will have long term and sustainable results.
The project will focus on the areas of sport, enterprise, tourism and senior citizens. The Director of Services at Leitrim County Council Joseph Gilhooly who officially launched the project highlighted ‘We are delighted to be developing this project with our colleagues in Fermanagh and Omagh and are confident that it can assist with cross border reconciliation as well as fostering community integration through developing and delivering a number of new ‘action research’ activities”.
‘Action research’ means that the agencies involved will try out new ways of working together, exchanging information and best practice as well as delivering tangible results for the communities in the three areas.
Peace III Cross Border Development Officer with Leitrim County Council, Eilish McLaughlin “We are delighted by the response from cross border agencies in this project, and while we realise that it will be challenging for them to have the time and space to plan things that are both additional and maybe a bit different to their usual way of working, ultimately, the results will provide added value and improved cross border agency collaboration”.
A cross border agency forum has been set up under each theme to develop project proposals . These Proposals will then be presented for consideration to the County Leitrim PEACE III Programme.