EU to unveil €1bn in N Ireland funding to boost reconciliation


Share post:

Receive free Northern Ireland updates

The EU will unlock more than €1bn in funding to boost reconciliation in Northern Ireland on Monday, days after military-grade equipment was seized that police believe was intended to be used to try to kill officers in the region.

Ireland’s taoiseach Leo Varadkar, EU vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and Chris Heaton-Harris, the UK’s Northern Ireland secretary, will launch the new €1.14bn plan in Belfast, the latest instalment of a programme begun in 1995 to support peace and reconciliation.

Varadkar will also hold a bilateral meeting with Heaton-Harris amid rising tensions between London and Dublin rise over an amnesty bill that will end inquests into atrocities committed during Northern Ireland’s three decades-long conflict.

The so-called legacy bill, passed by MPs at Westminster last week despite opposition from all parties in Northern Ireland and rights and victims’ groups, is a renewed strain on relations months after the EU and UK agreed the Windsor framework to ease post-Brexit trade friction.

The Irish government is weighing legal action against London over the bill at the European Court of Human Rights.

Varadkar will raise Dublin’s concerns with Heaton-Harris on Monday and discuss progress on the implementation of the Windsor framework with Šefčovič.

Northern Ireland remained within the EU’s single market for goods after Brexit but the Democratic Unionist party, the region’s biggest pro-UK political group, remains unconvinced by the Windsor deal and has paralysed local politics in protest.

The first phase of a system of red and green customs lanes established under the Windsor framework takes effect from October 1 — allowing goods entering from Britain and staying in the region to skip checks, with controls only on those travelling on into Ireland and the EU

The EU’s Peace Plus funding — designed to address social and economic challenges and aid community-building in a region still deeply divided 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement ended the Troubles — comes as Northern Ireland battles political, financial and policing crises.

The Stormont assembly and power-sharing executive have been on hold for more than a year because of the DUP’s opposition to the Windsor framework. Varadkar has criticised London’s “reluctance” to work with Dublin to help resolve the crisis before a UK general election.

With no ministers or budget in place, the region has spiralled into a deep financial crisis.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is also in turmoil after the resignation last week of Chief Constable Simon Byrne amid a string of scandals, including an accidental data breach in August that posted the personal details of its 10,000 serving officers and staff on the internet.

That highlighted the danger that police officers still face. In February, one of Northern Ireland’s most senior detectives narrowly survived an attack. Police last week seized guns, ammunition, hand grenades and plastic explosives in the city of Londonderry, also known as Derry, and made several arrests in a terrorism investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said the significance of the weapons seizure “cannot be underestimated . . . we believe the intention was to mount attacks in an attempt to kill police officers.”

Source link

Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

Recent posts

Related articles

Eurozone inflation hits two-year low

Receive free Eurozone inflation updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Eurozone...

UK economy makes stronger recovery from pandemic than previously estimated

Receive free UK GDP updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest UK...

Probe of Evergrande founder adds to pressure on Chinese developer

Thursday’s announcement by Evergrande was as ominous as it was curt. Hui Ka Yan, the billionaire chair...

UK rural land risks being forested over in corporate ‘greenwashing’

Receive free UK agriculture updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest UK...

Singapore’s GIC ditched Vista stake after founder’s tax scandal

Receive free Private equity updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Private...

Deloitte warns on ‘challenging’ conditions despite £1mn partner pay

Receive free Accounting & Consulting services updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the...

China looks to relax cross-border data security controls

Receive free Cyber Security updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Cyber...

Tesla’s black workers faced widespread racism, US agency alleges

Receive free Tesla Inc updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Tesla...