Thursday, 20 June 2019
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Minister for his commitment to the programmes. In the post-Brexit era, such programmes will never have been more needed. There could be fragile relations between North and South, although I hope that will not be the case. Those of us privileged to be public representatives of Border communities worked with counterparts in Northern Ireland in the dark days to bring projects together. I am thankful there was great momentum behind the PEACE and INTERREG programmes. There are many pieces of infrastructure throughout the province of Ulster that were funded as a direct result of those programmes being in place. They are bringing benefits to communities and individuals today and unfortunately they will be needed again in the post-Brexit era because of the adverse impact Brexit will have on all our island.
I ask the Minister to ensure the value of these programmes is to the fore in the many discussions that will be necessary at European Union level and with his British counterpart. The Minister is aware that to draw down funding under any of these programmes, a great deal of preparation must be done, which is quite understandable. If community groups and statutory agencies are to plan or prepare applications, they need to have a good idea that such programmes will exist. I sincerely hope they will given their importance.