New all-island initiative set up to assist communities address common challenges

Project jointly supported by Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive

A new all-island 'Shared Island, Shared Practices' project "has an enormous contribution to make to the creation of an inclusive society across the island", Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

He said he welcomed the fact that the project is being jointly supported by the Irish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive as well as the Executive's Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey presence at the opening.

An initiative of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and The Wheel, Ireland's national association of charities, the project aims to bring together communities from across the island to discuss solutions to their shared challenges.

Over the next nine months The Wheel and NICVA will facilitate a series of dialogues between community and voluntary groups North and South to identify responses to common challenges such as rural sustainability, recovery from the pandemic, developing the island economy, digital inclusion, and a just transition to a decarbonised island.



Promoting community-led responses which advance shared-island economic and social collaboration, it is jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs through the Reconciliation Fund and the Department for Communities.

It demonstrated “the spirit and practical cooperation we want to champion through the Government’s Shared Island initiative”, Mr Coveney said. It was also “aimed at bringing people together across different communities, political traditions and regions on this island to work on practical, meaningful issues of common concern for the years ahead”, he said.

Northern Ireland Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey said: “As we navigate our way through the challenges that we are facing, it is imperative that we all collaborate and work together to build the capacity across our voluntary and community sector to enable it to offer continued and renewed support.”

The project would “provide an incentive to what works”, she said. It would also compliment “the work that my Department’s [doing] in terms of community wealth building as part of our commitment to an inclusive recovery”.

The Wheel chief executive Deirdre Garvey said the 'Shared Island and Shared Practices' project would "point the way to a new era of community-led all-island collaboration" while NICVA chief executive Seamus McAleavey said "we will tap into the experience of organisations across the island and spread the learning for everyone to benefit."

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times