Gala will celebrate 25 years of educating NI’s children together



The IEF is gearing up to celebrate 25 years of supporting integrated education in Northern Ireland this October 07 when past and present pupils, alongside special guests, will attend a glamorous ball at the Europa Hotel.

Gala will celebrate 25 years of educating NI’s children together

Hosted by news broadcaster Maxine Mawhinney, a long-standing supporter of the Fund, the Gala Ball will also see “The Voice” star and past pupil of Malone Integrated College, David Jackson, perform. Guests will also enjoy comedy from Tim McGarry and a performance from jazz singer Victoria Geelan.

Over the past 25 years integrated school places have grown and this year alone a demand for integrated education saw an extra 1,000 places approved by the Department of Education.

Gala will celebrate 25 years of educating NI’s children togetherMaxine Mawhinney said:
“The road to a peaceful future lies in educating our children together, taking away any sense of difference or division. The work of the IEF is essential in achieving that goal.  So it’s time to build on the last 25 years and look forward to continuing that progress. As a child of Northern Ireland past I want to see an integrated future for the children of Northern Ireland .  That is why I support the IEF.”

Tim McGarry commented:
“I am a proud supporter of the IEF and of integrated education. It is shocking, a full generation on from the start of our “peace process”, that only 7% of pupils in Northern Ireland are educated together in integrated schools.

“We need to end religious segregation and division in our schools if we are to have any hope of ending division and segregation in our society. The IEF have been fighting valiantly for 25 years to bring children together and I am delighted to play a very small part in that fight.

“I’m really looking forward to being part of their 25th anniversary ball even though I know the only reason I got the gig was because Liam Neeson was unavailable.”

25th Anniversary Gala Ball David Jackson knows the advantages of integrated education:
“I grew up in Taughmonagh, a very Protestant estate. For me, the best part about going to an integrated school was the friends I made from all parts of the community. That was massively important and they are lifelong friends.”

Victoria Geelan saw her parents fight for the creation of Omagh Integrated Primary School more than two decades ago.

She said:
“I was  – and still am – very proud to have been one of the inaugural pupils at Omagh Integrated P.S. Thanks to the support of such organisations as the IEF, that little school has grown from strength to strength, and I recently performed at their 25th anniversary concert.

“Music, of course, unites, crossing all boundaries and I am delighted to have been asked to perform at IEF’s Ball this year. My superb band and I look forward to helping make it a spectacular night of celebration. ”

Tickets for the event cost £75, tables are priced at £700 for ten people. For further information ring Jessica Blomkvist at 028 9069 4099 or email Jessica@ief.org.uk