PEACE funding extension secured through hard work and commitment -- Bairbre de Brún
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed the adoption of extended PEACE funding to the 6 counties until 2006. Welcoming the extension Ms de Brún commented that 'Sinn Féin and others had worked hard to secure additional funding at a time of uncertainty in the peace process'.
It has been announced that the European Commission would provide funding of €60 million for the PEACE Programme and €15 million for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), per year for 2005 and 2006.
Speaking today Ms de Brún said:
"The announcement today by the European Commission that it is proposing to extend PEACE II funding until 2006 is to be welcomed. The commitment to extend the PEACE project is a practical demonstration of continued EU suuport for the peace process. It is vital to the work on peace building and social inclusion carried out by numerous community projects.
"We in Sinn Féin, along with others worked hard to secure this much needed funding at a time of uncertainty in the peace process and it will undoubtedly contribute to peace-building and national reconciliation. We will continue to support this measure in the European Parliament.
"I am disappointed that the British Government did not seek a similar amount of funding as in the previous period. We require answers from British Ministers as to why they did not actively lobby for a consistent level of funding to underpin the peace process.
"The challenge for all of us is to ensure the success of any PEACE II extension and to redouble our efforts to secure a PEACE III programme, after this current programme of funding runs out. We require an initiative that prioritises community-based projects and ensures community involvement in designing any future programme. The importance of future funding should not be underestimated in the context of the peace process and the project of peace building and national reconciliation across Ireland." ENDS