Project boost for Brownlow House

Sam McCleary and David Martin at Brownlow House. INLM1712-125gc
Sam McCleary and David Martin at Brownlow House. INLM1712-125gc

BROWNLOW House is to be the base for a new project to address the legacy of the Troubles in the Protestant community.

EU funding of £884,000 has been made available to facilitate the project which will bring seven new jobs to the area.

The staff will work on the Stepping Towards Reconciliation in Positive Engagement (STRIPE) project based at Brownlow House in Lurgan.

District Master David Martin said: “It’s great for Brownlow House in terms of the building being associated with a project that sends out a positive message.

“It will also give Brownlow House a financial boost in terms of catering for the various meetings and conferences associated with the project.”

He added: “It’s a real boost for Brownlow House and a reward for the hard work that has gone on in recent years to make it a building for everyone.”

Drew Nelson, chairman of the Orange Community Network, welcomed the EU support.

He said: “The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland believes there is an imbalance of weak community infrastructure, low confidence and low levels of participation within the Protestant community, particularly in interface and border areas in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“The Grand Lodge also believes the Protestant community in interface and borders areas has suffered disproportionately during the Troubles.

“This project is about capacity building in the Protestant community and we greatly appreciate the support of the Special EU Programmes Body. An exciting part of the project will be identifying young leaders, building their capacity and developing their skills so that they can play a full role in shaping society.”

William McKeown, grand treasurer, said it was “an unparalleled opportunity” to enhance confidence and enable the Protestant community to be part of meaningful cross-community and cross-border strategies aimed at building peace. The money will come from the European Union’s Peace III Programme.

“The ultimate aim is to allow the Protestant communities to become more comfortable in themselves and feel able to move forward with inter-community and cross border reconciliation,” Mr McKeown said.