From 4-6 October, the UK programme team took a delegation of key Muslim community representatives, current and former MPs and other relevant experts to Northern Ireland.
The purpose of the visit was to examine the Northern Irish experience of how addressing issues relating to paramilitarism are developed and implemented at a community level, and how state and community relationships operate to explore whether any relevant learning could be taken for the English context with relation to Prevent.
The group met with a range of individuals including academics, ex-combatants, youth workers, police officers, MLAs, clergy, and members of the Education Authority and the Department of Justice. Participants shared that the visit highlighted the importance of the buy-in of grassroots communities to ensure the success of initiatives aimed at addressing extremism, the lack of which is currently felt by many to limit the efficacy of Prevent. Although not an exact model to be replicated, the Northern Ireland context showed at a local level that it was possible for communities and the state to work together to address these issues and sparked fresh thinking among the group about potential ways forward in England.