Belfast Telegraph

Ministers aim for EU peace funding

Another tranche of European peace funding worth around £273 million to Northern Ireland and the border counties is to be bid for by the London and Dublin governments.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will identify community projects for a Peace Four running from 2013 for six years, the Irish Republic's Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said.

The plan was announced following meetings between Mr Gilmore, the First and Deputy First Minister and Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson at Stormont.

Mr Gilmore said: "What we would like to see is something of the same size (as Peace Three) being able to continue but we have to first of all have an assessment of Peace Three... and see whether proposals can be brought forward for a Peace Four."

Mr Paterson said the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) would be in charge of forming the proposal.

"They will do an audit of a whole range of existing projects to see what has worked well so that they can come up with a list of worthwhile projects," he said.

Peace Three supports a range of voluntary groups in deprived areas such as north Belfast which are trying to regenerate communities.

The Government has argued that Europe, just like its member states, must cut back on its spending but has supported extra Peace money through the Northern Ireland Office.

Last summer European Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn indicated his support for a continuation of "a significant amount" of European funding after the current Peace Three money runs out in 2013.

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