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Lords Protocol Committee welcomes PEACE PLUS funding to promote peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland, but stresses further clarity required

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Initiatives under the PEACE PLUS Programme, the commitment to funding for Northern Ireland, and efforts to support peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland in general are all welcome. However, the Government needs to provide further clarity on how the Programme will operate, concludes a House of Lords Committee in a report published today.

The House of Lords Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Committee has today (Tuesday 16 May) published a report scrutinising the Financing Agreement between the UK, Ireland, and the European Commission on the PEACE PLUS Programme 2021-2027.  

Key findings include: 

  • The Sub-Committee welcomes the PEACE PLUS Programme, the commitment to funding for Northern Ireland, and efforts to support peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland more generally.
  • The Committee notes that the UK will contribute 75 percent of the €1.14 billion/ £1.01 billion total budget, including €0.17 billion/£0.15 billion in co-financing from the Northern Ireland Executive, and that the rest of the budget will come from the Irish Government and the EU. 
  • The Committee invites the Government to set out whether and on what basis it is content with this funding split. It also seeks clarity on what, if any, impact the Northern Ireland Budget statement 2023-24 will have on this funding.  
  • The Committee expresses disappointment at the poor level of detail provided by the Government on the provisions of the Agreement on audits and review, the fight against irregularities, fraud and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the EU, and recovery and enforcement.
  • The Committee notes the political sensitivities of these Articles for the UK, and in particular Northern Ireland, following UK withdrawal from the EU, including in the context of the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud body.   
  • The Committee seeks urgent clarity on the complex legal and constitutional questions that these provisions give rise to. 

Read the full report on the Committee’s website.

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