£1 billion peace funding announcement to be made in Belfast

Northern Ireland will get about £1 billion of peace funding from the UK and Irish governments and the European Union (EU).

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, Irish premier Leo Varadkar and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic will be joined on Monday for the announcement in Belfast by the head of the Northern Ireland civil service Jayne Brady and Ireland’s Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe.

The new funding plan will see 1.14 billion euro received through PeacePlus, a new EU programme aiming to build reconciliation and greater prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

The UK Government is contributing £730 million to the total allocation.

PeacePlus will deliver investment across six key themes designed to ensure the continued economic, social and environmental development of Northern Ireland.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic
European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic was joining the Irish premier for the announcement (Niall Carson/PA)

During his visit, Mr Varadkar will also have a bilateral meeting with Mr Heaton-Harris to discuss the importance the Irish government attaches to the restoration of the powersharing institutions and to the British/Irish partnership, as well as the Irish government’s concerns relating to the UK Government’s Legacy Bill.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill includes a form of limited immunity for some perpetrators of crimes committed during the conflict and would also prevent future civil cases and inquests into Troubles offences.

Mr Varadkar has previously said the Irish government would “give consideration” to taking an interstate case against the UK at the international court of the Council of Europe if the Bill became law.

The Taoiseach will also engage with Northern Ireland business during the visit.

Development and management of EU North/South programmes is the responsibility of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), a North/South Implementation Body established under the Good Friday Agreement.

The SEUPB is headquartered in Belfast, with smaller offices in Omagh and Monaghan, and is jointly sponsored by the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform in Ireland and the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland.