Northern Ireland

£400m European funding 'to leave lasting legacy' says Mervyn Storey

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Media captionIf the UK votes to leave the EU, this will be the last round of European funding on offer, as BBC News NI's Chris Page reports

Finance Minister Mervyn Storey has said a £400m funding programme most of which is coming from the EU, will leave a lasting legacy in Northern Ireland.

The funding includes the latest round of peace-building funds the EU first distributed in Northern Ireland in 1995.

Over the last decade, the EU has spent more than £1bn in Northern Ireland and Irish border counties.

The money is aimed at peace-building and economic development projects.

About 85% of the money is coming from the European Union, while the rest is matched funding, mainly from the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish government.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Previous rounds of EU funding have been used for infrastructure projects such as Londonderry's Peace Bridge

About half of it will focus on children and young people, while the rest will fund cross-border projects involving Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

The EU money has been a major source of funding for the voluntary sector.

It has also been used for infrastructure projects, such as the Foyle Peace Bridge in Londonderry and the Skainos Centre in east Belfast.

The latest round of money is aimed at things like shared education and sustainable transport.

The money is available for allocation up until 2020 and some observers believe this will be the last of the EU peace money.