Source 2 - Report on the Peace Train Organisation

A report on the Peace Train Organisation (PTO) produced in May 1993. The report was commissioned by the Central Community Relations Unit, part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Context notes

This report was commissioned by the Central Community Relations Unit (CCRU). The Central Community Relations Unit was established in 1987 to advise the Secretary of State on all aspects of the relationship between the different parts of the Northern Ireland community. The Unit, is part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The Unit’s role is to make policies on issues of equality and improve community relations. The purpose of this report was to decide whether the Northern Ireland civil service should continue to provide financial support to the Peace Train Organisation.



The Peace Train Organisation came into being in 1989. The original idea is attributed to Pronsais De Rossa, a Workers Party T.D. in Dail Eireann, who together with other interested individuals decided to form a pressure group to oppose the ongoing bombing campaign against the Dublin /Belfast rail link. The idea was taken up by like minded individuals in Northern Ireland, initially by Chris and Michael McGimpsey, who formed a Northern contingent to co-operate with the group in Dublin. Eventually support committees were established in both London and Glasgow.


1. CCRU should extend funding for a further year,  rather than for three years, to allow time for the Peace Train to demonstrate that they have put into effect a clear development strategy. Such a strategy is not yet evident but there are clear signs that the need for it has been recognised and that attempts are under way to formulate one. 2. CCRU should reinforce to PTO as a condition of any further funding the types of output it considers appropriate for projects which it funds. 3. CCRU should give considered assessment to the value which it would place on any initiative which brings politicians from across the political divide in Northern Ireland to work together for a common purpose. This does not have a high correlation with CCRU objectives as specified and may be within the remit of another agency. Peace train should be encouraged to give precedence to an initiative highlighting Loyalist paramilitary violence . To date its campaign has been almost exclusively directed at republican violence. Such a display would almost certainly make it clear that the organisation was unequivocal in its operation and this would be likely to broaden it’s appeal and acceptability.

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  1. When was the Peace Train Organisation created?
  2. Who belonged to the group?
  3. What were its aims?
  4. What recommendations did the CCRU make?

Inferences from the content

  1. What can historians infer about the impact of the PTO?
  2. What can historians infer about the views and attitudes of the members of the PTO?

Inferences from the context

  1. Is it significant that government officials were providing financial support to the PTO?
  2. What can historians infer about attitudes within Ireland and Northern Ireland towards the conflict at this time?