£449k cut to EU peace offering for city garden

THE amount of EU peace money that will be doled out for a Garden of Reflection in Londonderry city centre has been reduced by almost half-a-million pounds, it’s been revealed.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson explained that the letter of offer issued to the Inner City Trust for the shared space in Bishop Street was being reduced by £449,092 from what had originally been proposed.

He stated: “Inner City Trust’s City Centre Garden of Reflection, has been issued with a Letter of Offer to the value of £2,129,978. The value of the Letter of Offer is a reduction from £2,579,070 which had earlier been proposed.”

Meanwhile, an EU funded peace project along the border at Strabane and Lifford has been approved by the Steering Committee under PEACE III.

But it is still awaiting the approval of the relevant Government Departments.

If it is approved the Riverine Project - designed to address the impact of the conflict on the Strabane/Lifford area - will receive £4,853,798.40.

It is one of two projects approved by Steering Committee under PEACE III Theme 2.1 that are awaiting the approval of the relevant accountable government departments prior to the issue of Letters of Offer. The other is based at Girdwood in North Belfast.

Said Mr Wilson: “The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is aware of the challenges faced by projects to complete their aims and objectives within the lifetime of the PEACE III Programme.

“Project Lead Partners are required to have a viable implementation plan in place at the time the Letter of Offer is issued that demonstrates that the project can be implemented within the PEACE III Programme timescales.”