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KWC Speaking at the Department for Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund Conference – 16 March 2024

Kilcooley Women’s Centre were delighted to be invited to join the Panel Discussion  at the Department for Foreign Affairs (DFA) 2024 Reconciliation Fund Conference held at the prestigious Dublin Castle on April 16, 2024. Represented by Lynne Bloomfield, Head of Business Services and Corporate Development, and Alison Blayney, CEO, the organization showcased its innovative approaches to reconciliation and community development at this key all Island reconciliation event.

The Programme: The conference kicked off with a shared cultural heritage tour of Dublin Castle, setting the tone for the day’s discussions. Kilcooley Women’s Centre’s participation highlighted the importance of cross-border collaboration in building peace and reconciliation efforts.

Innovative Approaches to Reconciliation and Community Development: As keynote speakers, Lynne Bloomfield  and others from the women’s sector in NI led question and answer sessions with the audience with insights into Kilcooley Women’s Centre’s innovative approaches to reconciliation and community development with a particular focus on the bespoke training toolkits they have developed for Good Relations and Peacebuilding. Lynne shared success stories, challenges, and lessons learned, emphasizing the crucial role of grassroots organizations in building sustainable peace and the importance of building the sector, succession planning and encouraging young women to get involved in community development.

‘Where Are We Now?’ Panel Discussion: Lynne Bloomfield joined a panel discussion titled ‘Where Are We Now?’ to address the challenges facing the sector. With her expertise and experience, she provided valuable perspectives on navigating obstacles and advancing reconciliation efforts in the complex landscape of post conflict Northern Ireland.

Keynote Address by Micheal Martin: The highlight of the conference was a keynote address by Micheal Martin, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, underscoring the Irish government’s commitment to peace-building initiatives both in Northern Ireland as an all island approach. His remarks reinforced the importance of cross-border partnerships in shaping a shared future.

Reception in the Portrait Gallery: The day concluded with a reception in the stunning Portrait Gallery, providing attendees with an opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and forge new connections. Kilcooley Women’s Centre’s presence at the reception underscored its status as a key player in cross-border peace and reconciliation efforts.

The Reconciliation Fund: The DFA 2024 Reconciliation Fund Conference served as a pivotal networking event for organizations like Kilcooley Women’s Centre, showcasing their invaluable contributions to peace-building efforts and highlighting the decades of support by the Irish Government to building peace in Northern Ireland. By sharing their expertise and insights on an all Ireland stage, Kilcooley Women’s Centre reaffirmed its commitment to creating a more peaceful and inclusive society, one community at a time.

KWC is proud to have been represented at such a prestigious event and looks forward to continuing its efforts towards peace and reconciliation and building on the relationship with the Irish Government in the future.