Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have announced that they will be responsible for the delivery of the PEACE IV action plan involving £4.2 million to promote peace and reconciliation in the local area.
The plan will focus on three key themes; Children and Young People, Shared Spaces and Services, and Building Positive Relations.
The funding will be used in the delivery of local community initiatives for children and young people involving sport, arts, culture and language. It will help make public space in cities, towns and villages more inclusive, facilitate programmes for shared space and will support conflict resolution activities.
PEACE IV aims to increase the number of people who feel relations between Protestants and Catholics have improved and increase cultural awareness of minority ethnic communities.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Roisin Mulgrew said, “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is delighted to be offered the opportunity to build positive relations locally through the delivery of a wide range of exciting initiatives that are focused on reconciliation, challenging prejudice and promoting diversity and good relations.”
Councillor Mulgrew continued, “This is a very welcome boost for our local communities and the support provided by the EU under PEACE IV is a most welcome signal of the European Union’s continued support for the process of peace and reconciliation”.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive Officer, Liam Hannaway said, “The Local Authority-led partnership is ideally placed to ensure the EU funding is invested within community based projects that will deliver tangible results. I am confident the funding will make a real difference to the lives of our residents and we look forward to seeing the results of the action plan”.
Match-funding for this element of the PEACE IV Programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland.
Special EU Programmes Body Chief Executive Officer, Gina McIntyre said, “The PEACE Programme is unique. It exists nowhere else in Europe and was created as a direct result of the EU’s desire to support the peace process.
“The benefit of the programme is not just about the financial assistance it provides, it is also about the partnerships that it creates between all of the different community and voluntary groups in receipt of support.
“These partnerships, build relationships between groups who may never have worked with each before and will result in meaningful contact between people from different communities and in doing so encourage greater levels of peace and reconciliation in the region.”
Caption:Announcing £4.2M Peace IV Funding for Newry, Mourne and Down were from left: Deputy Chairperson of PEACE IV Partnership, Aimee Boyd, Director of Active and Healthy Communities NMDDC, Michael Lipsett, Chairperson of PEACE IV Partnership, Councillor Michael Ruane, Deputy Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor William Clarke Programme Officer SEUPB, Ciaran Hanna, The Executive Office, Programmes Manager PEACE IV and District Council Good Relations, Kerry Morrison, Assistant Director of Active and Healthy Communities NMDDC, Janine Hillen.