SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has welcomed a commitment from the EU to invest €235m in Ireland through the PEACE PLUS programme.
PEACE PLUS is a new cross-border EU programme to strengthen peace and reconciliation and cross-border cooperation. It replaces previous INTERREG and PEACE funding.
The investment will be targeted in a number of key areas, including the well-being of young people, the challenges of rural communities in the border region and dealing with the climate crisis.
Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said, “It’s extremely welcome that the EU has renewed its commitment to Ireland both North and South through this announced funding for the PEACE PLUS programme. Over the past few decades EU funding has facilitated a number of important projects and initiatives that have had a real impact on the island and contributed to the success of our peace process.
“Visit any town or city on this island and you will be able to see evidence of the positive contribution EU funding has made, from large infrastructure projects to funding for local and community voluntary groups, this money has helped to transform our island in the years following the Good Friday Agreement.
“I welcome confirmation that this money will focus on a number of key priorities, including our young people’s well-being and the needs of rural communities, which are too often left behind. The focus on cross-community and cross-border approaches to health and social care is also significant, with this approach potentially providing the solution to many of the issues our health services are dealing with on both sides of the border.
“This funding will also support small and medium sized businesses to grow and reach their full potential and address the skills gaps which will help people secure employment, particularly in areas with fewer opportunities. The climate crisis remains one of our most significant challenges and this money will also fund important work, helping us as we work to transition to a greener and more sustainable society.”