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EU must back peace builders – Gerry Kelly

23 January, 2014 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, speaking as he led a delegation of former political prisoners to Brussels today, said it is essential that EU continues to support peace building work.

“We are in Brussels today to meet with EU officials from the office of the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, on the significant issue of support for former political prisoners involved in vital peace building work in Ireland.

“This crucial meeting comes after Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson recently met Commissioner Hahn to lobby for continued support under the incoming Peace IV funding round for groups such as the organisation accompanying today, Coiste na n-Iarchimí, the umbrella group for former republican political prisoners.

“I'm well aware of the challenges faced by former political prisoners and their families and of the excellent work done by these groups on the ground, including in my own constituency of North Belfast.

“It is essential that the European Union continues to support peace building work under Peace IV in the coming months and years and the purpose of today's visit is to get that message across to the decision makers in Brussels.

“I will also be taking the opportunity to provide a briefing to MEP's today on the recent Haass negotiations and the need for the urgent implementation of their outcome.”

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