KING’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS: Co-operation Ireland CEO awarded CBE for peacebuilding
Co-operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan has spoken of his hopes for the future after being awarded a CBE for peacebuilding in the King’s Birthday Honours.
Calling the award a “great honour”, Peter said it was a reflection of the work Co-operation Ireland does on a daily basis to build relationships between our communities and across our islands.
“On a personal basis, I am obviously surprised and honoured that people think I’m worthy of an honour.
“But more important is that I am proud in terms of the work of Co-operation Ireland since 1979 and all of the people who have been engaged in it and the people that we work with.
“I think this is an acknowledgement of all the work that has gone on.”Peter Sheridan CBE
Since the establishment of Co-operation Ireland in 1979 the charity has dedicated its efforts to fostering peace and reconciliation in Ireland.
Across almost 45 years, Co-operation Ireland’s staff have worked to bring about an environment where relationships could be built upon to achieve meaningful change. This work was to help create the space which was to lead to pivotal events that would capture the world’s attention Co-operation Ireland was pleased to be able to play a role in Queen Elizabeth II’s state visit to Ireland in 2011.
The late Queen Elizabeth II was joint patron of the charity, along with President Michael D Higgins.
This historic visit symbolised a new era of peace and cooperation between the two nations and was seen as a powerful gesture towards reconciliation.
A year later it was at a Co-operation Ireland event in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, where Queen Elizabeth II made the extraordinary gesture of shaking hands with Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland at the time.
Co-operation Ireland played a significant role in facilitating this historic handshake. The organisation had long been working behind the scenes, fostering dialogue, and building relationships between political leaders from both sides of the divide. These efforts created an environment of trust and understanding that ultimately paved the way for this groundbreaking moment.
The Queen’s visit and the handshake between the monarch and Martin McGuinness sent a powerful message to the world about the possibilities of peace and reconciliation. It demonstrated that even the deepest divisions can be overcome through dialogue, understanding, and a genuine commitment to cooperation.
By providing a platform for dialogue and through our grassroots programmes, the organisation has played a crucial role in transforming the landscape of conflict into a space of understanding and collaboration.
Through its work, Co-operation Ireland continues to inspire hope, break down barriers, and lay the foundation for more harmonious relationships across our islands.