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Abstract

The International Fund for Ireland, which was set up by the British and Irish Governments in 1986 under the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, was funded by the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The International Fund enjoys the support of 31 countries, which is truly remarkable. It is one of the most successful examples of the Irish Diaspora at work in a very tangible way; a point ably captured in the Fund’s 2002 Annual Report where Hon Russell Marshall from New Zealand notes “As a member of the Irish Diaspora, New Zealand was delighted to be invited to join the Fund, and to lend its weight to the search for a permanent peace between the communities of the North, which had given so much to New Zealand’s early history”. The Fund had come into existence as part of an Agreement which did not have whole-hearted support in either part of the island at that time. It also came in the wake of many false dawns. While this had the effect of making life difficult for the fledgling organisation it would, in my view, come to be one of the drivers of its success as it became clear that the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) was part of a much larger story and the beginning of something really significant for this island.

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