Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has welcomed the news that PEACE IV has formally been adopted by the European Commission and urged that the lessons from previous rounds of the programme are learned to maximise its positive impact.
Mr. Nicholson said:
“I lobbied hard to secure PEACE IV and welcome that it has now been approved by the European Commission.
“PEACE IV is worth almost €270 million. At the end of this programming period and since 1995 when PEACE I was launched following lobbying by myself, John Hume and Ian Paisley, the total PEACE programme will have brought over €2.2 billion in extra funding to Northern Ireland and the border region of the Republic of Ireland.
“A range of projects and communities have benefitted from PEACE funding since that time. The PEACE programme has largely played a positive role in communities but has not been without criticism and problems.
“For example the excessive bureaucracy associated with PEACE III was a major issue. It is therefore essential that Northern Ireland officials learn from these experiences and ensure that in PEACE IV there is no unnecessary complexity to cause delays in projects being delivered on the ground and that community groups receive the assistance and support they need as the projects are rolled out.
“It is also vital that PEACE IV is utilised in such a way as to maximise its positive impact in communities not just now but in the future. It is particularly welcome that one of PEACE IV’s priorities will focus on addressing trauma. Tackling the mental health legacy of the Troubles is something Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt MLA and the Ulster Unionist Party as a whole have championed for some time. Using PEACE IV to address this is a positive development.”