De Brún comments during European IFI debate
Speaking following the vote on IFI funding in the European Parliament today, Bairbre de Brún MEP said:
“The International Fund for Ireland has carried out important work in those areas most affected by the conflict in terms of capacity building, reconciliation, economic development and regeneration of deprived areas.
Peace-building and reconciliation by their very nature require risk-taking but are essential in overcoming political, economic and social problems.
During the conflict, the voluntary and community sectors played an essential role in keeping the fabric of society together and in confronting social decline and deprivation. The IFI was often able to put money forward as the initial funders [to put money on the table first] enabling groups to then approach other funders for peace-building projects, and to avail of PEACE or Interreg funding.
The conflict in Ireland has left a long-term legacy which still impacts on Irish society and will probably do so for many years to come. In the north of Ireland the conflict has created segregated communities, leading to deep social, economic and political divides. Peace-building is a long-term process and participation at local level and from the most vulnerable in society is extremely important.
Thanks to the peace process in which I was privileged to play a part great progress has been made but we still have a long way to go. I would like to thank the EU for the continued support for the Irish Peace process.
It is vital that peace building programmes which have demonstrated their usefulness, in particular those involving community and voluntary groups, continue to be financially supported when current PEACE and IFI funding come to an end.” CRÍOCH