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Sinn Féin welcomes DUP support for peace dividend

8 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed the indication from DUP Deputy leader Peter Robinson yesterday that he would support a peace dividend being paid by the British government to undo decades of British under funding and neglect.

Mr McLaughlin said:

" The main political objective in the immediate term is of course to establish whether or not the DUP are up for agreeing the sort of holistic package which is necessary to see the political institutions re-established and the other outstanding Good Friday Agreement issues resolved. This is of course proving somewhat difficult given the mixed signals being sent by the DUP over recent weeks.

" However I have to say that the comments made by Peter Robinson regarding the need for the British Government to pay a peace dividend to undo the decades of neglect and under funding mirror the position which has been advanced by Sinn Féin for many years.

" In every negotiation and indeed within the Executive Sinn Féin argued strongly that all of the local parties needed to adopt a united approach in demanding that the British government deliver a substantial and meaningful peace dividend.

" Communities across the six counties have suffered British government neglect through under funding and others have suffered and continue to suffer through oppressive policing and miltarisation. Our road and water infrastructure and our health and education facilities are clearly in need of substantial investment yet the only option which the British government seems to be advancing is increased local rates.

" This is unacceptable and it is time that the British government directly put up the money to undo the damage done by its decades old policy of militarisation and under funding." ENDS

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