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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joins EU Commissioner Maros Sefcovic to unveil €1 Billion EU funding for Northern Ireland

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic have convened in Belfast to announce a substantial €1 billion in EU funding earmarked for Northern Ireland. The announcement, taking place in Belfast, includes the participation of a representative from the UK government, Dr. Jayne Brady, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe.

The newly unveiled funding initiative entails the allocation of €1.14 billion through PEACEPLUS, a novel EU programme with the primary goal of fostering reconciliation and enhancing prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland. PEACEPLUS is poised to channel investments across six pivotal themes aimed at ensuring the sustained economic, social, and environmental development of Northern Ireland.

During his visit, Mr. Varadkar will engage in a bilateral meeting with the UK government representative, focusing on several critical topics. These discussions will underscore the Irish Government’s emphasis on the restoration of powersharing institutions and the significance of the British-Irish partnership. Additionally, concerns raised by the Irish government regarding the UK government’s Legacy Bill will be addressed.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, in question, introduces a form of limited immunity for certain individuals involved in crimes during the conflict and seeks to prevent future civil cases and inquests related to Troubles-era offences.

Mr. Varadkar has previously indicated that the Irish Government would consider pursuing an interstate case against the UK at the international court of the Council of Europe if the Legacy Bill becomes law.

During his visit, the Taoiseach will also engage with the Northern Ireland business community.

It’s worth noting that the development and oversight of EU North/South programmes fall under the purview of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), a North/South Implementation Body established under the Good Friday Agreement. The SEUPB has its headquarters in Belfast, with smaller offices located in Omagh and Monaghan. It operates with joint sponsorship from the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery, and Reform in Ireland, as well as the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland.

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