Deputy Brendan Smith (FF).

€1.1bn in Peace funding approved for 2021-27

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The North South Ministerial Council has approved the draft PEACE PLUS cross-border EU programme - with a funding package of €1.1bn for successful projects between 2021 and 2027.

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has confirmed that the programme was approved by the Irish Government last week and today sanctioned by the Northern Ireland Executive and the North South Ministerial Council.

It will now be reviewed by the European Commission for final consideration and approval, ahead of a formal launch in 2022.

PEACE PLUS is a new North South programme for the 2021-27 period, which will combine the previous PEACE and INTERREG EU funding strands into one cohesive cross-border programme. This new programme will support peace and prosperity across an eligible area of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland (Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth and Sligo).

Deputy Brendan Smith commented: "With a total funding package of over €1.1 billion, PEACE PLUS is set to be an ambitious and impactful cross-border programme, which will benefit counties Cavan and Monaghan, and which will build on the strong legacy of the PEACE and INTERREG EU programmes.

"I believe that the scale of the support which PEACE PLUS will provide for shared peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland is especially timely as we look ahead to recovery from the COVID pandemic and as we adapt to the challenges of Brexit.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD acknowledged the shared commitment of the EU, the UK, the Northern Ireland Executive and our Government to PEACE PLUS. "The development of this programme since 2018 is a strong signal of our continued joint commitment to support peace and reconciliation and cross-border cooperation on the island of Ireland," said Deputy Smith.

"I would also like to thank the Special EU Programmes Body for their exhaustive work on programme development for PEACE PLUS, as well as the stakeholders represented on the PEACE PLUS Programme Development Steering Group,” he added.

Deputy Brendan Smith concluded: "I look forward to European Commission approval of the draft programme over the coming months, and to a formal launch of PEACE PLUS in 2022."