February 8th 1994
St. Columban’s College, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath
Editor’s note: At the public talk in Dalgan, the speakers outlined the various activities of the Group. They stayed overnight and on the following day visited 4 secondary schools in Navan, talking to students about their work, and were interviewed by local media. The talk was not recorded
The Peace and Reconciliation Group (PRG)
“Peace will only come when the major groupings in our society trust one another enough to plan and build the future together. Our job as reconcilers is to dismantle the real and painful barriers which stop this happening.“
(PRG Report, 1991)
The Peace and Reconciliation Group was founded in 1976 as a local group of the Northern Ireland Peace People, but two years later it became a completely independent body, so as to work effectively in the local context. The members of the Group come from different traditions and areas of the city – most are community workers in their localities, with a close knowledge of people and issues at “grass roots”.
Aims of the Group: One of the consequences of “the troubles” has been the breakdown of trust and communications between the two sides of the community. Each act of violence, whoever perpetrates it and whatever the reasons, widens that gap. The PRG see the task of reconciliation as the rebuilding of confidence and understanding, and the reduction of fear and tension at personal and community level. They believe that everyone has to play a part in making peace: ordinary people separated by prejudice and fear; community groups, political parties and churches; children and young people; present and former prisoners and their families; the security forces and the paramilitaries; the people of Britain and the Irish Republic as well as Northern Ireland.
Some of the Work of the Group:
Advice service to people whose lives are being disrupted by the consequences of “the troubles”.
Community reconciliation work.
Community relations meetings.
Representations and complaints to police and army .
Cross-community events: sporting fixtures; schools’ football; social events; children’s entertainment; community drama; annual “Friendship Week”; youth project; family holidays for mixed groups; community minibus service.
Conflict resolution and prejudice reduction workshops.
Wider contacts – Liaison with other organisations concerned for reconciliation in Derry; links with the many bodies working for peace, justice and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Peace and Reconciliation Group: 18 London St., L’Derry BT48 6RQ