Newry Mourne and Down District Council will be responsible for the delivery of the PEACE IV action plan 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.
Newly 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.
“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 added: “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 also explained: “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.
* The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is a North/ South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland.
* It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society.
* The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
* The PEACE IV Programme has a value of 270 million and aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.