March 2021 saw the final meeting for the Retired Border Personnel Project
Formally launched in April 2019, the project was established with the aim of delivering a range of activities designed to help and assist former members of the Irish Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána and Customs and Excise to deal with issues arising from their protracted service along the border, issues which have left a residue of emotional, physiological and physical challenges for those concerned.
The first year of the project generated great interest in the project, attracting twice as many participants as originally anticipated. Participants undertook a great variety of events and activities, including meetings with former UDR/RUC personnel and their families, visits to sites of historical interest and engagement with statutory bodies such as the Victims and Survivors Service.
In response to the restrictions associated with the Covid Pandemic, project activities went on-line with meetings and seminars hosted by key speakers from different communities and traditions who spoke of their personal experience and perception of the conflict. The project participants again showed a high level of commitment to the project with 30 people consistently joining these fortnightly meetings every fortnight.
Over the full course of the project, a total of 23 separate events took place, including a residential exchange visit, 5 field trips, 4 conference events and 15 online seminars.
Although the formal part of the project has ended, Co-operation Ireland looks forward to the further development of this programme, and when circumstances allow, helping these groups gain the support and the recognition earned by their invaluable service.
This project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.