On Wednesday 23rd June 2021 the official launch of the East Border Region Charter took place in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry. This was a very successful hybrid event with 50 people attending in person, and 150 joining online.
This Innovative Charter for Cross border cooperation in the East Border Region takes account of the fact that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, sets out the parameters for cross border cooperation between the six-member authorities North and South and outlines future regional cross border priorities.
In 2021 EBR celebrates 45 years of cross border Local Authority led cooperation and is one of the longest established cross border local authority led groups in Europe. EBR is currently involved in the implementation of INTERREG VA Projects to the value of €104 million.
Speaking at the event the Chairman of EBR Cllr. Kyle Savage stated: “The EBR Charter is elected member led and represents a renewed mandate for EBR to be a principal mechanism for continued cross border cooperation between the six-member Local Authorities. The Local Authority Declaration of Commitment outlined in the Charter states:
We the member authorities of the East Border Region hereby declare our joint commitment to continue to work together to address the issues arising from the Ireland/N Ireland border in order to protect and improve the prosperity of the citizens of the Region and the public and private services that they can access.”
Cllr. Savage also acknowledged the funding from the Reconciliation Fund which enabled the development of the Charter.
Both Minister Simon Coveney and Minister Conor Murphy gave keynote addresses at the event.
Minister Murphy stated, “EBR has a 20-year track record in delivering cross border EU funding and is currently involved in a number of INTERREG projects. EBR has always been an organisation that leads on cross border co-operation, and it is timely that the EBR Charter reaffirms and refreshes the organisations mission in light of Brexit, and the ongoing commitment of the six-member local authorities to cross border co-operation.”
In his keynote address Minister Coveney stated “I am very pleased that the Reconciliation Fund has provided support for the development of the EBR Charter, EBR has a long and proud history of practical cross border co-operation for the benefit of the citizens of the region, and has done invaluable work in terms of capacity building between elected members, council officials and key stakeholders. EBR is a first-class example of cross border regional co-operation and it needs to be supported and enhanced”.
In her address Pamela Arthurs, Chief Executive, outlined the proposed implementation of the EBR Charter along thematic lines and pointed to the forthcoming €1 billion PEACE PLUS Programme as an exciting opportunity to implement practical cross border co-operation projects. The key themes include:
· Economic Development and Regeneration
· Climate change
· Social Inclusion
Pictured with the Northern Ireland Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Chair of the East Border Region Kyle Savage are the Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council Cllr. Sean Drew with Councillors Paddy Meade, Gerry O Connor, Tom Behan and Paul McCabe and Senior Executive Officer with Meath County Council Larry Whelan