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Ó Caoláin welcomes Government support for Peace III Programme

6 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the Minister for Finance's expression of Government support for a Peace III Programme of EU funding for peace and reconciliation in the Border Counties and the Six Counties. Minister McCreevy was speaking in reply to a Dáil Question from Deputy Ó Caoláin.

Major EU-funded projects promoting peace and reconciliation and community development are due to come to an end this year but the Minister for Finance has confirmed that the Irish and British governments are working jointly to ensure that the Peace II programme is extended to 2006. Today at Dáil Question time the Minister also confirmed the Government's support for a further programme after 2007 and said they would be seeking this in negotiations on the EU Budget. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"I welcome the support of the Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy for the extension of the Peace II programme until 2006 and for a Peace III programme. This is something we in Sinn Féin have been calling for and a measure that would be beneficial to communities throughout the 12 counties currently benefiting.

"Excellent work has been done in building peace and reconciliation at community level in the Border Counties and the Six Counties through the Peace I and Peace II programmes. We need to continue and to further develop that work beyond 2006.

"What is being sought by the communities who have benefited from these programmes is an improved and extended programme that will address issues of inequality and be focussed on achieving maximum all-Ireland communication, co-operation and integration."ENDS

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