Ministers Flanagan & Sherlock Welcome New PEACE programme30/11/15
€270m for projects supporting peace and reconciliation in NI and the border counties
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charles Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State Sherlock have welcomed the adoption today by the European Commission of the new €270 million EU PEACE programme. This PEACE IV programme will fund projects in Northern Ireland and in the border counties aimed at supporting peace and reconciliation.
Together the new PEACE and INTERREG cross-border programmes will provide funding of more than half a billion Euro to Northern Ireland and the border counties up to 2020.
Minister Flanagan thanked the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, and her colleagues and welcomed the adoption of the PEACE Programme as an indication of the continuing support of the European Union for the peace process. He stated:
“The financial contribution of the European Union has been of critical importance with almost €3 billion in European funding being provided to date via the PEACE and INTERREG programmes. The political support and encouragement of the EU Commission and our EU partners over the years has been vitally important.
“Successive PEACE programmes have made an important contribution to the social and economic well-being of the people of Northern Ireland and the border region. The Government, with the Northern Ireland Executive, has therefore worked consistently over the last number of years to secure a fourth PEACE programme."
The Minister noted that this latest PEACE programme will focus on shared education, youth initiatives, shared spaces and services together with local projects, including in the areas of the arts, culture and sports, which help to build trust and understanding between communities. He stated:
“The aim of the Irish Government is to work with our British colleagues and the North’s political parties to bring about a politically stable and peaceful Northern Ireland. The recent Fresh Start Agreement points us in the right direction. The projects which will be funded under the PEACE programme in Northern Ireland and the border counties will bring enormous benefits to local communities and will assist in the work of reconciliation and consolidating peace on the island .”
Minister for North South Co-operation Mr Sean Sherlock, TD, stated:
“The formal adoption of the Programme now gives the green light to progress calls under the new programme and ensure that funding can target projects that aim to reinforce a peaceful and stable society by fostering reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border region”
“Today’s news will ensure that both programmes continue to play a key role in supporting cross-border and cross community co-operation in Northern Ireland and across the Border region.
“Overall, there has been extensive North South engagement on EU-related matters and we will continue to pursue and engage in initiatives with the Northern Ireland Executive on issues where we have clear interests in common. Such engagement can only help us maximise benefits in both jurisdictions.”
30 November 2015