Peers Gather to Recollect the Peace Process

Attendees at a reception in the House of Lords heard how an ambitious oral history project hopes to capture the recollections of those involved in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

The event was hosted by Baroness Blood on behalf of the Peace Process: Layers of Meaning project, a €1.1 million three year initiative funded by the European Union's PEACE III Programme. The reception brought together more than 50 representatives of the London-Irish community, past and present MPs and Peers, diplomats, academics, journalists and key figures in sport, the arts, and religious life.

Many of those who attended played an important role in the peace process, and shared their thoughts on the reach and scope of the project.

Explaining her involvement and support for the project Baroness Blood said:

"What I like about this work is that it attempts to capture the many layers involved in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. There were people working at many different levels. It was not confined to formal politics: there were many people at community level, whose contribution must be recorded."

The former speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Lord Alderdice, commented:

"I am very strongly supportive of the idea of capturing these memories while people are still around - not just how people lived through the trauma of the Troubles, but also what made a peace process possible. There are many people throughout the world who can tell us how they managed to live through conflict, but there are very few places that have the same experience of finding their way to a resolution through a peace process. That is the value of a project like this."

Sarah Lorimer, the Project Research Officer based at Dundalk Institute of Technology said:

"This event has provided a platform for us to showcase key developments to date. Attendees have been particularly interested to hear about our oral history training programme, the final leg of which takes place at Dundalk Institute of Technology in September. The programme is equipping people from across the border region with the necessary skills to collect and conserve their own stories of conflict and peace at various levels."

This training programme will give way to three exemplary oral history projects in the border region. The team is also engaged in creating a heritage archive on the peace process. The project is led by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, in association with Trinity College Dublin and Dundalk Institute of Technology. Full details are available at: http://www.peaceprocesshistory.org

For more information please contact John Davison at ASITIS Consulting on 02890438677 or 07795360154 or jdavison@asitisconsulting.com