A non-profit organisation based in Switzerland has secured the future of a leading archive about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Conflict Archive on the Internet (Cain) website had faced crippling cuts because Ulster University, which hosts the archive at its Derry campus, said it could not afford to keep it going.

Academics said that would represent intellectual vandalism of a free historical memory bank of data, stories and images used by scholars around the world.

Ulster University announced on Wednesday that funding from Initiatives of Change would help to sustain the archive. It is understood to have donated £150,000.

“This generous donation not only secures the live nature of the Cain archive, but makes possible its future expansion, enabling us to overhaul the archive in ways that will benefit both the academics who contribute to it and the many thousands of visitors to the site,” said Paul Seawright, the executive dean of the arts, humanities and social sciences faculty.

Initiatives of Change, formerly called Moral Rearmament, considered the archive a unique historical record, said Alec McRitchie, a member of its Ireland committee. “We are pleased to play our part in enabling it to be maintained as a live archive.”

The Irish government’s department of foreign affairs reconciliation fund, a longtime supporter of Cain, recently added project funding.

The funding will help modernise the site, which launched in 1997, and keep it as a live resource which fields queries and corrects, revises and updates information.

The donation is for two years, leaving a question mark over longer-term funding, but the university has committed to staffing and sustaining the archive.

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It includes oral histories, election results, political memorabilia, public records, bibliographies and the names and details of more than 3,600 people killed in Troubles-related violence in Northern Ireland, Ireland, the UK and continental Europe.

The information is free to access and responsive to requests and queries ranging from school students, professors and former paramilitaries.



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