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De Brun - EU Peace III should support peace building, reconciliation and conflict resolution

10 December, 2003


Sinn Féin Six County EU candidate Bairbre de Brún MLA, speaking at a Press conference in Belfast today has said that there is a continued need to support peace building, reconciliation and conflict resolution in Ireland and argued that further European Union support through Peace III, to underpin the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, will help to cement the emerging peace as we build a bridge out of conflict towards a lasting peace.

Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin is working towards a peaceful and pluralist Ireland which recognises and celebrates diversity. We believe there is a continued need to support peace building, reconciliation and conflict resolution. Further European Union support through Peace III, to underpin the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, will help to cement the emerging peace as we build a bridge out of conflict towards a lasting peace.

"In making our initial consideration of the a development of a Peace III Programme, Sinn Fein is committed to entering into a debate with the many groups and stakeholders throughout Ireland about how we manage the transition from conflict towards becoming a peaceful and economically prosperous region of Europe.

"Sinn Fein believe that there is a particular need for the inclusion of those who have suffered directly as a result of the conflict, including those who regard themselves as 'victims', those who regard themselves as 'survivors' and those who have been imprisoned as a result of the conflict.

"Reconciliation cannot be built on the basis of inequality. Therefore Sinn Fein believe that any Peace III programme must focus on redressing and reducing inequality. We must create and strengthen pathways to reconciliation through social inclusion, tackling inequality in the social, economic, linguistic, political and cultural spheres. A key element of this will be community empowerment.

"We need to develop ways to strengthen citizen participation and respect for human rights and redistribute social, economic and cultural power to ensure a level playing field.

"European Peace programmes should support the preparation for managed rather than unmanaged change by further enhancing equality and social inclusion, developing common policies north and south, developing models for civic engagement on changing policies, providing training in human rights, developing twining initiatives across Ireland and promoting Irish language projects.

"The two governments must continue to make a strong case for continued EU support though a Peace III programme for peace building, reconciliation and conflict resolution. They must also make plans to fill the gap in the absence of such funding." ENDS

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