Minister McGrath updates Cabinet on the €1bn PEACE PLUS Cross-Border EU Programme 2021-27

Published on: 26 January 2021

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, TD, this morning updated Cabinet colleagues on the ongoing development of the 2021-27 PEACE PLUS cross-border EU programme.

PEACE PLUS will be a new North South cooperation programme which will combine the existing PEACE and INTERREG EU funding strands into one cohesive cross-border programme. With a total value of €1 billion, the new programme will support peace and prosperity focussing on Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

The programme will be funded by the European Union and the UK Government, together with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government.

PEACE PLUS development is being led by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), a North South Implementation Body, in close cooperation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland and the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland. On foot of a comprehensive stakeholder consultation, together with development work with government departments North and South, SEUPB has prepared a draft programme framework which identifies key thematic areas of cross-border activity for PEACE PLUS. SEUPB is now preparing to launch a second public consultation which will commence shortly. This consultation will allow for stakeholders across the eligible area for the new programme to make their views known.

Speaking after this morning’s Cabinet meeting, Minister McGrath said:
“I was very pleased to update Cabinet colleagues today on progress with the development of the PEACE PLUS programme.

“The combined funding commitments made by the European Union, the UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, and the Irish Government are set to provide a total programme value of around €1 billion. The EU and the UK are discussing final agreement on funding arrangements.

“This represents a genuinely impactful programme which will have an enduring cross-border legacy. Government Departments, North and South, have worked collaboratively together to develop the programme. I believe that the scale and ambition of PEACE PLUS are especially timely in view of the twin challenges of Brexit and the COVID pandemic which are being faced across the island of Ireland. PEACE PLUS will build on the excellent work of the PEACE and INTERREG programmes to support shared peace and prosperity.

“I had the opportunity to discuss the PEACE PLUS programme with Ministers Conor Murphy and Peter Weir at our North South Ministerial Council meeting in October, and I look forward to further positive engagement as we finalise the programme.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the Special EU Programmes Body for their excellent work to date on programme development for PEACE PLUS, as well as to the stakeholders represented on the PEACE PLUS Programme Development Steering Group. I also wish to acknowledge the shared commitment of the EU, the UK and Ireland to PEACE PLUS.

“I look forward to seeing the launch of a further public consultation for PEACE PLUS over the coming weeks, and I encourage all stakeholders to make their views known during this process”.