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de Brún - Peace III funding can help tackle workplace sectarianism

14 January, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Bairbre de Brún has today called for any future EU peace and reconciliation monies to include measures for tackling sectarianism in the workplace.

As the debate on whether the EU will deliver a Peace III funding programme continues, Ms de Brún has said that any new Peace III programme can help secure the successful elimination of inequality, the promotion of diversity and the recognition of the inter-dependence of all individuals and communities across Ireland.

Ms de Brún said:

"There is a continued need to support peace building across the island of Ireland. Nation-building and reconciliation will require us to address and tackle issues of discrimination and sectarianism which have blighted workplace relationships to this day. Reconciliation can only be built on equality and the recognition that there is no place for discrimination in our society.

"In the course of Peace I and II much good work was done by the voluntary and community sector in tackling these issues. However there is also a responsibility on the business community to fully engage in the process of conflict resolution. Addressing the inequality, discrimination and sectarianism on their own doorstep can best do this. In addition to tackling sectarianism at the macro level, there is a need to examine how vulnerable groups and individuals within individual workplaces can be made to feel more secure.

"In designing any new Peace III package, we must learn from this gap in some of the good anti-sectarian work that has been carried out to date and ensure that adequate provision be made in the future. This can include involving workforces in the design of initiatives to increase the safety, security and peace of mind of groups underrepresented in that workplace. Workplace safety and security remains one of the key equality issues for us all today and adequate funding must be provided for that work."ENDS

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