Minister Noel Treacy pledges Irish Government’s commitment to support a further EU PEACE Programme
Programme an integral part of Peace Process
Minister makes first Official Visit to Special EU Programmes Body
Noel Treacy TD, Minister for European Affairs pledged the support of the Irish Government to achieve a further commitment from the EU to the successful EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation as part of his first official visit to the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in Belfast today (Friday 22nd July).
One of the cross border bodies set up under the Good Friday Agreement, the SEUPB is the Managing Authority for a number of major EU Funded cross border Programmes including the unique PEACE II Programme and Minister Treacy met with SEUPB Chief Executive Pat Colgan and other senior colleagues to discuss the success of the Programmes to date and the possibility of securing future additional EU funding.
Speaking after the meeting with the SEUPB, Minister Treacy said:
“We have always believed that the work of the Special EU Programmes Body and the PEACE II Programme in particular is an integral part of the overall peace process, offering practical assistance on the ground to support reconciliation and to help the region move towards being a more peaceful and stable society.
“Under the guidance of the SEUPB, and with the full support of both governments, the PEACE II Programme has made a substantial positive difference to the lives of many people in Northern Ireland and the Border region. Among other positive outcomes, recent research shows that participants in the programme are more likely to have direct positive contact with people from different communities and are also more likely to trust members of another community.* (See Notes to Editor).
“I can pledge the full support of the Irish government to securing a further commitment from the EU to support the programme beyond 2006 to allow this good work to continue.
“In this regard, we have been particularly encouraged with the recent EU budgetary discussions which indicated that a Presidency proposal was on the table to provide funding for a further PEACE Programme beyond 2006. Decisions on the budget have yet to be made and we will make every effort to secure such a commitment as part of the Budget agreement ” he concluded.
Pat Colgan, Chief Executive, SEUPB welcomed Minister Treacy and thanked him for the continued support of the Irish Government.
“It has been a great pleasure to welcome Minister Noel Treacy to our offices today and to share with him our thoughts on the future of EU Funding and in particular that of the PEACE Programme. The Minister recognised the great work that has already been delivered by many projects and implementing bodies within the overall programme and emphasised the importance of building on the success to date to further promote peace and reconciliation among all communities here. We are encouraged by early indications from Europe of a possible extension to the Programme and will now work with all partner bodies to explore the possibilities further,” he said.
22nd July 2005
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Notes to Editor
• Until the end of 2004 the PEACE Programme has brought over €1 billion to the twelve counties on either side of the Border, representing substantial resources for the area that would not otherwise have been available. A further €144M extension was secured for the Programme for the period 2005-2006 and was formally launched by EU Commission Danuta Hubner in Belfast on 3rd June.
• The PEACE II programme has funded over 5300 projects to date and aims to help Northern Ireland become a more stable and prosperous society and to promote reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.
• Recent independent research shows that PEACE II has acted as an important catalyst for change in the region. The evidence shows that 96% of participants in the PEACE II Programme are more likely to have at least some friends within another community compared to 86% of the total Northern Ireland population. In terms of trust, 80% of PEACE II participants feel that members of the other community can be trusted regardless of community background, compared to 56% of the total Northern Ireland population.
• The Special EU Programmes Body's principal functions are to manage certain EU Structural Funds, such as the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE II), INTERREG IIIA Programme and other community initiatives and to support a range of development and regeneration programmes in the North and South of Ireland.
• The SEUPB is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. The Body was established on 2nd December 1999, under the Good Friday Agreement 1998 and the British Irish Agreement, establishing implementing bodies. The Body reports to the North/South Ministerial Council.