Assessing external funding supports for the Northern Ireland peace process
in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
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Chapter ten explores the role of external economic aid in conflict resolution and since the signing of the Agreement to promote peacebuilding. In moving from violence to peace, most efforts have concentrated on the removal of direct violence through top level political engagement, usually over the short-term. However, a number of external funding programmes have focused their efforts on all levels of society, supporting the Northern Ireland peace process over the long-term through social and economic development. By focusing on the local, they have attempted to redress the root cause of conflict in Northern Ireland. Under the guise of the International Fund for Ireland and the EU Peace programmes (I, II, III), they have been responsible for a huge increase in grassroots level involvement in the region’s conflict transformation process, prompting previously unforeseen levels of citizen empowerment and local ownership of the process. Consequently this has assisted in sustaining the peace process during its most challenging political periods.

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