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Sunday 07 Apr 2024
Sports unite to promote good relations

The Irish FA Foundation has partnered with Ulster GAA, Ulster Rugby, Belfast Giants and other sports to host an event at which the power of sports good relations and community cohesion programmes to unite and empower people was showcased.

Sport Building a United Community was staged in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, and was supported by the Executive Office Together Building a United Community Central Good Relations Fund.


It was attended by officials from sports governing bodies, sports development officers, sports club representatives, coaches, players, volunteers, academics, community development officers and elected representatives from across Northern Ireland.

The event launched with an exhibition and networking opportunity followed by the presentation of sports good relations programmes case studies by Irish FA Foundation Community Engagement Manager Mark Dennison, Ulster Rugby Club and Community Development Officer Colin Hunter, Ulster GAA Head of Club and Community Development Diarmaid Marsden and Belfast Giants Community and Social Responsibility Co-ordinator Stephen Key.

Event host and sports presenter Thomas Niblock also facilitated an informative and insightful panel discussion with Northern Ireland Women’s Under-19 football team head coach Gail Redmond, GAA All-Ireland winner Diarmaid Marsden, former Ulster and Ireland international rugby player Paul Marshall and Belfast Giants head coach Jeff Mason.

Irish FA Foundation Community Engagement Manager Mark Dennison said: “Inclusion is a core value of all sports and with the support of government sports can work together to deliver impactful good relations programmes that break down barriers and encourage participation across the community.”

He added that the Sport Building a United Community event provided an opportunity to share learning from a number of innovative and groundbreaking sports partnerships and programmes that are delivering significant good relations outcomes and bringing people together in meaningful ways.

Sport Building a United Community was officially opened by Junior Minister Pam Cameron MLA, while closing remarks were presented by The Executive Office’s Deputy Secretary of Good Relations and Inclusion, Gareth Johnston.