Newry, Mourne and Down District Council PEACE IV Partnership hosted a final event to celebrate the success of the PEACE IV funded Local Authority Action Plan at Down County Museum on Tuesday 20 September. The local authority action plan has delivered over 180 community, sporting, cultural, historical and capital projects since 2017, engaging over 4,000 participants from the Council area.
The Action Plan was funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The Programme was designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland and contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability through actions that promote cohesion between communities. Match funding was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
With a budget of £4.7 Million, the programme supported 29 objectives with over 180 projects across three strategic themes – Children and Young People, Building Positive Relations and Shared Spaces and Services. Over 4,000 children and adults have engaged in in the PEACE IV Programme. This ambitious Action Plan was managed by the Councils PEACE IV team and its delivery partners such as the Policing and Community Safety Partnership.
Over 1,800 children and young people have participated in PEACE IV projects which included Shared History and Culture, Free Play, Citizenship and Capacity Building which were delivered throughout the Council area.
Under the theme of Building Positive Relations over 1,500 participants have engaged in programmes such as the Downpatrick Dig, a community-based archaeological investigation facilitated by Queens University at the Holy Trinity Cathedral and numerous Cross Community and Intercultural events that were delivered throughout Newry, Mourne and Down.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “One of the flagship projects that was developed under the Shared Spaces and Services objective was the reconstruction of an Armstrong Hut in Down County Museum. Bringing to life the stories of Ballykinlar soldiers, internees and refugees through the means of new technology, the hut has allowed us to celebrate and educate, illustrating themes of our shared history. Thanks to the Special EU Programmes Body, we have been able to deliver innovative projects that will leave a lasting legacy within our district.”
Reflecting on the accomplishments of the Council’s PEACE IV Action Plan, Newry, Mourne and Down PEACE IV Partnership Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews stated, “The Council looks forward to the new PEACE PLUS Programme, which will build upon the significant positive achievements of the PEACE IV Programme that has been instrumental in creating a more cohesive society.”
Minister of State at the Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, commented, “I am pleased to see that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, which received over €5.6 million from the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, has completed their Local Action Plan for the district, engaging and supporting over 4,000 participants in over 170 projects across the three PEACE IV strategic thematic areas. The Plan supported a vast range of initiatives which will have a very beneficial impact on people living in this area. I am delighted that my Department was able to provide match funding and support for the delivery of this very significant plan.
Congratulations to the programme implementers and all the participants on the successful outcomes under this plan. I am sure the benefits of this Local Action Plan will help to break down barriers, support peace and reconciliation and bring a real, tangible benefit to the county, with recreational facilities for all members of the communities to use helping to ensure that peace and reconciliation are maintained for future generations.”
CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body Gina McIntyre said, “Communities here are still suffering from the consequences of the past, but councils across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland have been working tirelessly to address those issues, supported by the EU’s Peace IV Programme.
Ms McIntyre continued, “The projects created and developed by Newry, Mourne and Down Council are great examples of this. People have been brought together by exploring our shared history, arts, language, culture and sport. What has been achieved by these projects will leave a long-lasting, positive legacy for the future. I would like to congratulate the work of all the council staff and delivery partners involved in the delivery of the Plan for their courage, leadership and dedication.”
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.