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About £300m will go towards funding peace projects in Northern Ireland after Brexit, the UK government announced on Friday.
It said it will contribute millions of pounds to Ireland’s upcoming Peace Plus project until 2027, as part of its “unwavering commitment” to maintaining peace in Northern Ireland after Britain’s departure from the EU.
Peace Plus will succeed the current Peace programme, which promotes social and economic progress in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland with funding from the UK, Ireland and the EU. The current scheme will end in 2020.
The UK government will work with the Irish government and EU commission to shape the new scheme over the next round of the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework, which regulates its annual budget for the next seven years.
Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said: “This funding will help deliver vital projects on both sides of the Irish border, supporting cooperation and reconciliation and ensuring that generations to come grow up in a more peaceful and stable society.”
The EU has already laid out plans for up to £109m (€120m) of funding during 2021 to 2027 if its financial perspective is approved. The UK government will continue its support following a joint commitment with the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement to maintain Peace funding in Ireland until 2027.
The funding will enable work to build on nearly £1.8bn (€2bn) of investment in projects in both Northern Ireland and Ireland, including landmarks such as the £14.5m Peace bridge opened in 2011 in Londonderry, which links communities across the River Foyle.
Belfast-based Youth Action, which works with disadvantaged young people from different communities in Northern Ireland, is one of many organisations that has benefited from Peace funding, using it to establish the Youth Network for Peace, which involves 10,000 10-25 year-olds in social action projects.