Funding for cross-border projects must be protected post Brexit – Brendan Smith TD

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Cross-border projects funded by the Irish and British Governments and the European Commission have been critically important in advancing economic and social development in the border region.  Different programmes including INTERREG and PEACE  have been operational since the mid 1990’s and there has been a strong emphasis in investing in disadvantaged areas.

This funding has assisted in the provision of much needed community infrastructure and enhanced community facilities. There have also been successful programmes of investment in human resources with training and upskilling of people leading to employment.

Unfortunately there are still many areas of disadvantage in the border region, North and South, and it is essential that these programmes continue post Brexit.

Below reply by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to my most recent Parliamentary Question on this issue.

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For Written Answer on : 23/10/2018
Question Number(s): 241 Question Reference(s): 43862/18
Department: Public Expenditure and Reform
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the projects that will be funded under the INTERREG and peace programmes in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The 2014-2020 EU-funded PEACE and INTERREG programmes will invest over half a billion euros in the border region of Ireland and Northern Ireland over the course of the programming period.  The programmes are managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, one of the North South implementation bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement.

The PEACE IV programme has a total value of €270 million and aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. The INTERREG VA programme totals €282 million, with the aim of promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Both programmes are progressing well, with the bulk of funding now allocated to successful applicants who will be delivering a range of projects during 2019 and beyond.

The PEACE programme supports projects under four Specific Objectives.  These are Shared Education, Children and Young People, Shared Spaces and Services, and Building Positive Relations.  To date a total of 39 projects of varying sizes, with a total value of €118 million, have been granted funding under these objectives.  In addition to this, €73 million has been allocated to Local Authorities, North and South, for their Local Action Plans, to deliver PEACE IV programme activities across a range of the Specific Objectives.

The INTERREG programme funds projects in four thematic areas.  These are Research & Innovation, Environment, Sustainable Transport, and Health.  A total of €217 million has been allocated to 28 projects to date.

The remaining funding under both programmes will be allocated to projects over the coming months.

The Government is committed to the successful implementation of the current PEACE and INTERREG programmes and a successor programme post-2020.  It welcomes the proposal from the European Commission for a special new PEACE PLUS programme that will build on and continue the work of the PEACE and INTERREG programmes in the 2021-2027 programming period.