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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Europe to give 40m to Irish fund
Commissioner Danuta Hubne
EC Commissioner Danuta Hubne made the announcement
More European Union cash for the International Fund for Ireland has been announced.

The IFI - set up by the Irish and UK governments 20 years ago - has garnered contributions that have delivered 6,000 projects costing more than 580m.

The European Commission has contributed more than one third of the total since 1989.

It has now said it proposes to contribute another 40,529,575 between 2007 and 2010.

Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner said the funding was "a clear manifestation of the deep and ongoing commitment of the Union to the peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland".

She said the IFI had "produced remarkable results in pacing the way towards a better and peaceful future" on both sides of the border.

Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins said he was delighted by the news.

"I believe the money will contribute to the ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts on the island of Ireland," he said.

"The IFI has become a success not only in Ireland but has also been used as a model in the promotion of reconciliation in other parts of the world."

The proposed extra EU funding will receive the necessary formal approval from EU ministers in December.

It is in addition to the 140m that will be allocated from EU regional policy funds to the programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE programme), which operates in Northern Ireland and in the border counties of the Irish Republic.

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