Community groups reflect achievements in addressing issues caused by paramilitary control and organised crime

Community groups reflect achievements in addressing issues caused by paramilitary control and organised crime

Fri 22 Mar 2024 by Co-operation Ireland

Community groups from across Northern Ireland have outlined how the development of new programmes under the Communities in Transition project has helped address issues resulting from paramilitary violence and coercive control across eight areas. 

The Executive Office, in partnership with Co-operation Ireland and Communities in Transition (CIT) Delivery Partners showcased the work undertaken by the CIT initiative at an event held today (Wednesday March 20) in Corr’s Corner Hotel, Newtownabbey, attended by First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly.

The event highlighted the achievements, insights, and innovations born from the CIT initiative, providing invaluable resources and an opportunity to shape future community transformation efforts. 

Aimed at fostering resilience, capacity, and confidence within communities plagued by the effects of paramilitarism and associated criminal activities, the CIT programme marks a pivotal moment.  

Spanning across eight target areas, the CIT project has championed a diverse range of endeavours from health and well-being to community safety, and cultural development. This adaptive approach has allowed for the creation and delivery of tailored initiatives meeting the unique needs of each community.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “The investment of over £19million across the eight CIT areas originally identified, has enabled countless examples of good practice and delivery throughout the programme.

“Thank you all for the dedication in what is a challenging environment. We need to continue to give sufficient attention and focus to reducing the space that paramilitarism can exploit in communities.

“This means continuing to support community led activity to develop resilience and working in partnership across Government to tackle the wider socio-economic issues such as poverty, health inequalities and educational under-achievement.”

Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly said: “The tireless work being done across the eight CIT areas and beyond is helping transform, renew and reshape communities impacted by paramilitarism and criminality.

“Real differences are being made to people’s lives, communities are safer, more resilient, and they are more peaceful places to live.

“I particularly welcome the meaningful impact on those young people growing up in a post-conflict society. CIT has helped many of them make better choices and be more positively involved in their communities.”

Ian Jeffers, the recently appointed CEO of Co-operation Ireland said: “We all recognise the challenges that many of our communities continue to face and today we have seen that with community leadership, active partnerships and investment we can make significant progress in supporting communities move toward a positive, peaceful future.”

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