Belfast group wins peace award


The Pax Christi International Peace Prize for 1999 was presented to Belfast's Clonard Fitzroy Fellowship at a ceremony in Dublin last night. The fellowship, a Catholic-Presbyterian peace initiative set up 18 years ago, is a cross-community group which fosters peace at grassroots level in the North. It received the award for "exemplary peace work . . often done quietly away from the limelight".

The prize was presented to Father Gerry Reynolds, of the Redemptorists' Clonard Monastery in west Belfast, and the Rev Ken Newell, of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in the city. The presentation was made by the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude, Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, president of Pax Christi International.

Introducing the recipients, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Ms Mairead Maguire, explained how the fellowship began in 1981 when Mr Newell spoke on Radio Ulster about the Beatitudes. Following this a deep friendship evolved between him and Father Reynolds. It enabled them to cross boundaries traditionally closed to one another, she said.