IAUC Invests in Peace Through International Sponsorship of Féile an Phobail


July 15, 2008—The Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) is delighted to announce its sponsorship of West Belfast’s 20th Anniversary Féile an Phobail, which will take place this August 3rd through 10th, 2008, in West Belfast, Ireland.

The community festival was first established in 1988 as a direct response to the conflict in the north of Ireland, and showcases the enormous amount of ingenuity, innovation, energy and passion for positive community development throughout West Belfast. The IAUC is the first International Sponsor of Féile an Phobail.

Féile Director Sean Paul O’Hare commented on the significance of the IAUC’s support:
“We welcome the IAUC as official sponsors for our August Féile and we value their involvement in this year’s festival. This year has been particularly difficult with massive cuts to our funding. However we have come through many years of hardship and yet we always managed to not only survive but also thrive. This year is no exception.”

2008 also marks the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the 25th anniversary of the IAUC.  According the McCabe, though the IAUC will be celebrating the achievements of the past throughout the year, the current goals and campaigns of the organization reflect the need for a new vision of international support for peace with justice as defined by local communities.

Sponsorship of this year’s festival is part of the IAUC’s Fair Investment campaign, which was kicked off at Forbairt Feirste’s Cultural Economy Conference in West Belfast in May.  “We wanted to showcase this community initiative, and to recognize the important role the Féile has played in promoting peace building and intergenerational participation at the local level for the past twenty years,” said IAUC National President Kate McCabe.

“We are hoping that through our involvement with the festival, and our recognition of local efforts in the north of Ireland, we might strengthen the ties between Irish Americans and Irish communities—particularly those who are moving the peace process on the ground forward daily in historically marginalized areas.  It is in these areas where the foundations for a secure and lasting peace will be built.“ McCabe said.

O’Hare added, “We hope to expand our programme in the coming years and we especially want to welcome more of our friends from the U.S.A. The festival has been to the fore in relation to developing positive relations during the peace process. We create events where all the communities of Ireland can come together and debate our differences and then celebrate our cultures in a positive and productive fashion.  So with the support of the IAUC, we will have a very successful festival.  We would also love to welcome even more U.S visitors to our great community arts party in August.”
For more information, contact: Kate McCabe, IAUC National President, 734.657.2436; Sean Paul O’Hare, Director, Féile an Phobail, +44 28 9031 3440


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