Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD travels to Belfast and Lisburn today to visit the headquarters of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and also a number of projects that are being funded under the current cross-border PEACE and INTERREG programmes.
Ireland and the UK co-fund, with the EU, these two programmes, which have a total value of €550 million over the period 2014-2020.
Speaking in advance of her visit, the Minister said: “For more than quarter of a century, the PEACE and INTERREG programmes have been important drivers of cross-border regional development. Significant social and economic dividends have resulted from these programmes.
“I look forward to visiting the headquarters of the SEUPB and to meeting with its CEO Gina McIntyre and her team. Their excellent work in managing successive cross-border programmes has seen over €3 billion invested in Northern Ireland and the border counties.
“These two programmes are 85% funded by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the EU’s Cohesion Policy. As Minister for European Affairs, I very much welcome the European Union’s continuing commitment to the process of peace-building and reconciliation.”
While in Belfast, the Minister will meet with the Victims and Survivors Service, DARE to Lead Change, and STRIVE, all of which receive PEACE-funding. She will also travel to the University of Ulster in Jordanstown, where she will be briefed about two INTERREG projects, ECME and SPIRE 2, before finishing her programme with a visit to the Atlas Women’s Centre in Lisburn to visit a PEACE-funded project, Developing Capacity through Dialogue for Women’s Groups.
The Minister welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a special new PEACE PLUS programme post-2020 that will build on and continue the work of successive PEACE and INTERREG programmes.
The Minister said: “The Irish Government remains committed to the successful implementation of the current PEACE and INTERREG programmes and to the new PEACE PLUS programme.”