€550m to be invested in new North South co-operating programmes

The money will be spent across a series of cross-border initiatives in the above regions.

Speaking at the announcement of the funding, minister for public expenditure and reform, Brendan Howlin said: “I am delighted that the Irish Government was able to secure the EU funding that forms the basis for the new PEACE Programme, which will build on the success of previous programmes.

“Together with the new INTERREG Programme, it will see investment of more than half a billion Euro in the region over the next seven years in support of a range of exciting cross-border initiatives.”

The Minister was taking part in the launch of the cross border cooperation programmes at the Skainos Centre in East Belfast. Also taking part in the launch were Northern Ireland finance and personnel minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, and Scottish cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, Keith Brown MSP.

Since 1991 INTERREG programmers have contributed in the region of €850m to the economies of Northern Ireland and the border region of Irleand.

Meanwhile the PEACE programmes have contributed just under €2bn to Northern Ireland and the border counties since 1995.

The Programmes are managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, one of the North South bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking at the launch event, SEUPB Chief Executive Gina McIntyre said: “A whole new generation of young people have grown up since the first PEACE Programme was created. As such, PEACE IV will have a strong youth focus with approximately €100m worth of funding being allocated to children through shared education and youth development initiatives.”

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