Secretary of State for Northern Ireland visits Peace Centre
May 28, 2013 | Nick Taylor
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Mrs. Theresa Villiers MP visited the Peace Centre in Warrington (Tuesday 27th May) to tour the iconic building and to discuss the work of the Foundation that promotes peace and conflict resolution.
Co-founders Colin and Wendy Parry welcomed Theresa Villiers and escorted her on a tour of the international Peace Centre. The Secretary of State then met Chief Executive Nick Taylor and programme leads Jo Dover and Kelly Simcock and received a status update on the work of the charity and the key challenges facing the Foundation.
While day-to-day policing and justice functions are devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, the UK government retains responsibility for national security issues in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is responsible for coordinating the Government’s strategic response to any threat to destabilise the framework for the peaceful settlement of Northern Ireland’s future.
The Foundation for Peace was created as a direct response to the Warrington bombing and its methods and approaches were developed through programmes developed with organisations in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Foundation now works nationally and internationally but is still active to help reduce the risk to people and communities in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The Foundation updated the Secretary of State on its vital work with survivors and victims of political violence and terrorism relating to the ‘troubles’, it also updated on its work in the prevention of violent conflict and the promotion of community good relations and called upon the Government to commit to support this work going forward.
Foundation Chairman and co-founder Colin Parry said: “It is 20-years since the IRA bombing in Warrinton and both Wendy and I have found the support of each Secretary of State vital in achieving our ambition.
“This is the first meeting with Theresa and we are grateful that she took time to visit us, find out about our work and she will now be able to consider how we can make progress together for the future.”
Nick Taylor, Foundation Chief Executive added: “Following the transfer of victims policy to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, our relationship changed in terms of the work we carry out to support victims, survivors and those affected by ‘troubles’ related violent conflict. This included the ending of funding from the UK Government and our work only continues due to the generosity of our supporters, grants from the Big Lottery and support from the Republic of Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Today was an opportunity to update on our work but also to put a clear case for our work to continue and for a close relationship to be developed with the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly to continue our vital contribution.
The visit was also an opportunity for the Foundation to discuss wider security issues including the recent incident in Woolwich and to demonstrate the work that the Foundation is carrying out nationally and internationally in violent conflict prevention, resolution and response.
The Foundation is hoping to hold further meetings with Government representatives over the coming weeks and months as a follow-up to this visit.