This episode examines the role of ex-combatants in helping to build and maintain peace, particularly at interfaces. InterAction Belfast, Inner East Forum, EPIC and Coiste na n-Iarchimí all discuss their work with ex-prisoners, as well as politicians and local community workers who reflect on the importance of dialogue and co-operation in moving on.
InterAction Belfast’s mission is to challenge the conditions that sustain Interfaces by creating a vibrant, diverse and well-resourced community which is anti-sectarian and interdependent.
Inner East Forum was a group consisting of community workers, residents and elected representatives from the lower Newtownards Road and Short Strand area who were anxious to ensure that disturbances around the interfaces stopped.
EPIC (Ex-Prisoners Interpretative Centre) was founded in 1995, although its origins go back considerably longer. Initially, its primary objective was to address the problems surrounding the reintegration of politically motivated prisoners into the community and in particular those prisoners from an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) or Red Hand Commando (RHC) background. Their work includes youth intervention, resolution of interface violence, assisting UVF/RHC in the process of transformation post conflict and welfare rights advice.
Coiste na n-Iarchimí was established in 1998 and is the co-ordinating body for groups and projects throughout Ireland, providing services to republican ex-prisoners and their families. They provide advice and help support to political ex-prisoners and their families, facilitate dialogue considering the legacy of the conflict and advocate a shared peaceful future based on equality of citizenship.