De Brún welcomes extension of Peace Funding
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the latest moves to extend the Peace Funding programme to support peace and reconciliation in Ireland. PEACE II is due to run out at the end of this year, although Structural Funds in general do not end until 2006.
Ms de Brún was speaking after her attendance at the European Parliament Regional Affairs Committee, when it was confirmed that the EU Parliament will bring forward legislation to extend the Peace Funding to the Six Counties and border region.
Ms de Brun also got a commitment from the Dutch Presidency to do all they can to speed the process forward once the Commission has brought forward proposals this month.
Speaking from Brussels, Ms de Brún said:
"I want to welcome the opportunity to extend the Peace Funding programme until 2006. This is extremely important and will help underpin the continuing peace process and promote national reconciliation.
"However, I will also push for continued financial support for peace and reconciliation after this current programme of funding runs out with an emphasis on prioritising community-based projects over business initiatives. Greater community involvement is also needed in designing any future programme. The importance of future funding should not be underestimated in the context of the peace process and the stability of Ireland as a whole". ENDS