UK to spend £300m supporting peace projects in NI

A border crossing between Co Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and Co Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland Credit: Niall Carson/PA

The UK Government has confirmed it will spend £300 million supporting EU-backed peace projects in Northern Ireland as part of its commitments under the Brexit deal.

The Northern Ireland Office said the UK Government had committed to contributing millions of pounds “as part of its unwavering commitment to uphold the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland after Brexit”.

The funding will be made available until 2027.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley said: “This funding will help deliver vital projects on both sides of the Irish border, supporting co-operation and reconciliation and ensuring that generations to come grow up in a more peaceful and stable society.”

The Peace Plus scheme will succeed the current Peace programme, which was designed to help promote economic and social progress in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.

It has been running since 1995 with funding from the UK, Ireland and EU, and will end in 2020.

The UK Government will work with the EU Commission and Irish government to shape the programme over the next round of the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

Last May, the EU set out its plan to make £109 million in funding to continue peace projects in Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

The funding from the EU and UK will enable work to continue on the construction of almost £1.8 billion worth of projects in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Among the projects to have received funding to date has been the £14.5 million Peace Bridge in Londonderry, which was opened in 2011 and links communities across the River Foyle.

Youth Action NI in Belfast is one of the organisations that has benefited under the existing scheme.

The group used the money to set up the Youth Network for Peace, a regional project involving 10,000 young people in a range of social action projects on a cross-community and cross-border basis.