This article examines the views of ninety-eight study participants on community development and peacebuilding supported by the European Union (EU) Peace II Fund and the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). We elaborate the perceptions of community group leaders, funding agency civil servants and development officers regarding the role of both funds in Northern Ireland. Their experiences of the EU Peace II Fund and the IFI are discussed in the wider context of peacebuilding and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. Furthermore, this article explores the importance of community development and cross-community contact through joint economic and social development projects.

Author Bio(s)

Sean Byrne is a native of Ireland. He is Professor and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), and Executive Director, Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. With Denis Sandole, Ingrid Sandole-Staroste, and Jessica Senehi, he is a coeditor of the Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (Routledge, 2009). Email: Sean_Byrne@umanitoba.ca

Chuck Thiessen is a Peace and Conflict Studies Ph.D. student at the Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. He is the author of the study ‘Exploring NGO Educational Project Work: Working Towards the Healing of Afghanistan and Other Conflict-Affected Nations’ (2008). He has spent two years employed as an aid worker in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Eyob Fissuh is a native of Eritrea. He recently graduated with a Ph.D. specializing in Econometrics from the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba. He has coauthored articles in Peace and Conflict Studies, International Journal of World Peace, Civil Wars, Global Business, and Economics Anthropology. He has also presented papers at a number of international conferences.

Cynthia Irvin is a senior social science scholar with the Research Triangle Institute International where she works on projects in the areas of human rights, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. She is currently serving as a member of an international mediation group engaged in multiparty talks in the Basque country. Current research interests include ethnic conflict, humanitarian aid, human rights, peacebuilding and economic aid, women and politics.


civic organizations, economic aid, European Union (EU) Peace II Fund, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), Northern Ireland, peacebuilding, reconciliation

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