Rural Respect Week is coordinated by the Rural Enabler Programme, a Peace III funded programme managed by Rural Community Network in partnership with Irish Rural Link, which is aimed at addressing issues of sectarianism, racism, social exclusion and all other forms of rural inequality throughout the six Northern and six border counties.
The theme of Rural Respect Week is “Building peace through respect” and will feature many events in the 12 counties emphasising the importance of peace-building in rural communities
The official Launch of Rural Respect Week took place in Leinster House, Dublin on Thursday September 13th and was attended by many community representatives from the border countie including Sligo/North Leitrim Deputy, Tony McLoughlin.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Deputy McLoughlin said that he welcomed the initiative taken by the Rural Enabler Programme in implementing Rural Respect Week. “This week will highlight the amazing role that rural communities play in building peace. Each county will showcase the peace-building work that is being done with the support of the county-based Rural Enablers and the successes achieved by rural communities.”
In Leitrim, the main events marking Rural Respect Week include a gathering of the Protestant communities of Leitrim and West Cavan that has the theme of Maintaining the Protestant Identity in a Border Area and asks the question: “Sharing Space: Opportunity or Threat?” This seminar will take place in the Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo on Friday 21st September at 10am.
Aedín McLoughlin, Leitrim Rural Enabler, said that the number and variety of events taking place during this week throughout the border counties is truly inspiring. “The Rural Enabler Programme is showing the importance for small groups and communities of having someone to give a helping hand when new initiatives are being considered. Whether it is a youth group wanting to link with people with different traditions, a community group wanting to provide services for minorities or a church group wanting to use their premises as a shared space, the Rural Enabler can help with the process.”
A full calendar of events taking place throughout NI and the Border Counties of Ireland can be found on www.ruralcommunitynetwork.org. Details of local County Enablers are also available on this website.