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Bridge of Hope engages with OFMdFM on legacy and Transitional Justice work

Bridge of Hope engages with OFMdFM on legacy and Transitional Justice work


Bridge of Hope, a programme of Ashton Community Trust, yesterday met with Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann and their officials at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Bridge of Hope delegation was led by Head of Victims and Mental Health Services Irene Sherry and Billy Hutchinson who sits on the organisation’s Legacy steering group.

The purpose of the meeting was to outline to the Ministers the value and impact of Bridge of Hope’s EU PEACE III funded Legacy Programme and the Victims & Survivors Service (VSS) funded Transitional Justice work carried out in partnership with the University of Ulster’s Transitional Justice Institute.

Eilish Rooney from the Transitional Justice Institute, who has worked in partnership with Bridge of Hope on their Transitional Justice work, was also part of the delegation which met with the Ministers.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Sherry said;

“This was a very welcome opportunity to engage with OFMdFM and update them on the grassroots and transformative nature of both our PEACE III legacy work and the pioneering Transitional Justice work with the University of Ulster.

We were delighted to engage with the Junior Ministers and it was evident they are very keen to learn more about these aspects of our work. We hope to engage further and continue to update the Ministers and their officials in relation to the positive impact both these programmes are having on people who we are engaging with.

Bridge of Hope is very proud of our pioneering work in conflict transformation and we look forward to continued engagement with partners and stakeholders to ensure this work is developed and progressed in order to benefit the people on the ground who are most affected by the conflict and associated issues.” ENDS


Pictured after yesterday’s meeting at Stormont with Junior Ministers Bell and McCann are;

Irene Sherry (Head of Victims & Mental Health Services, Ashton Community Trust)

Billy Hutchinson (Co-ordinator, Mount Vernon Community Development Group)

Niall Ó Donnghaile (Legacy Co-ordinator, Bridge of Hope)

Stephen Cooke (Legacy Outreach Worker, Bridge of Hope)

Eilish Rooney (Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster)

Harry McCullagh (Temp worker with Bridge of Hope on Transitional Justice)

Ashton Community Trust’s PEACE III project is aimed towards engaging with marginalised and disaffected communities which feel isolated and excluded from statutory engagement and are struggling with the legacy of the past. 

The project is centred on 2 key strands “’Who Am I?’” and “Making Sense of the Past In the Present” which are bespoke initiatives Bridge of Hope has developed.

The two strands promote discussion and understanding of conflict/legacy issues and encourage better communication across community, religious and political divides thereby breaking down barriers and promoting reconciliation. Through the delivery of the project individuals have the opportunity to re-connect with their own communities and society at large.

Bridge of Hope, a programme of Ashton Community Trust and the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI), University of Ulster, have partnered to date and produced Transitional Justice Grassroots Toolkit (2012) and Transitional Justice Grassroots Toolkit: User’s Guide (2014) which is due to be Launched on Wednesday 5 November at 12 noon in the University of Ulster, Jordanstown campus (Loughview Suite). This event is hosted by BoH and TJI and is a high point of the international Christian Aid conference which is taking place from 3-5 November.


The Guide, written by Eilish Rooney (TJI), is an important and distinctive publication from Ashton Community Trust that developed from the local lived experience and insights of men and women in grassroots organizations. It speaks to our universal concerns and experiences.

This work receives funding through the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS), which is administered on behalf of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).

For additional information on this press release please contact Bridge of Hope’s Legacy   Co-ordinator Niall Ó Donnghaile at [email protected] or                       Tel: 028 90313454




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