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OFMDFM Press Release about 'A Shared Future', 21 March 2005

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Press Release prepared by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) on the publication of:
‘A Shared Future’ The Framework For Good Relations In Northern Ireland

21 March 2005



John Spellar, MP, Minister with responsibility for community relations issues, this morning presented a Written Ministerial Statement to the House of Commons on the publication of ‘A Shared Future’ Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland.

Mr Spellar said: "The publication today of ‘A Shared Future’ sets out our aim of establishing over time a shared society, defined by a culture of tolerance.

"Our aim is for a normal civic society, where individuals are considered equals, diversity is respected and where violence is an illegitimate means to resolve differences, but where differences are resolved through dialogue in the public sphere.

"‘A Shared Future’ outlines realistically the scale of the challenge and indicates that good relations will be built on significant progress of the equality agenda."

The objectives outlined in ‘A Shared Future’ include:

  • the elimination of sectarianism, racism and all forms of prejudice to enable people to live without fear of intimidation or harassment;

  • the reduction of tension at interface areas;

  • the facilitation of the development of a shared community where people wish to live, work, play and learn together;

  • the promotion of civic mindedness via citizenship education through school and life long learning;

  • the protection of members of minorities (whether, for example, by religion, race or any other grounds); and

  • the shaping of policies, practices and institutions to enable trust and good relations to grow.

Mr Spellar said: "Our policy, which is underpinned by a series of fundamental principles, will be taken forward on three distinct levels. First, a triennial action plan covering actions across public authorities will be prepared by the Autumn. Second, the roles and functions of the Community Relations Council will be enhanced and thirdly, a new district council Good Relations Challenge Programme will be established by 2007 to replace the existing programme."

He concluded: "Sustained and deeper progress on good relations requires leadership at political, civic and local level and government will set the pace on promoting good relations by leading by example."


  1. ‘A Shared Future’ outlines the fundamental principles and aims which underpin how all of us, government, local authorities, civic society, can work together to bring about a shared future between and within communities. A copy of the document and full text of the Written Ministerial Statement can be accessed on the website –
  2. Media enquiries to the OFMDFM Press Office on 028 9052 8642.


See also the full report:
Community Relations Unit (CRU). (2005) A Shared Future - Improving Relations in Northern Ireland: The policy and strategic framework for good relations in Northern Ireland, (21 March 2005), [PDF; 1062KB]. Belfast: Community Relations Unit (CRU), Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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