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EU Peace money must continue to be allocated on basis of need

25 November, 2004

Responding to comments made by DUP MEP Jim Allister concerning the allocation of EU Peace funds when he criticised the allocation of funding received by the Catholic community as being disproportionate, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said:

" Peace funding cannot be allocated on the basis of religion or political affiliation. It must be and can only be allocated on the basis of need. The catholic, nationalist and republican community having suffered from decades of institutional and political discrimination obviously qualifies for such attention. Many working class loyalist communities qualify likewise.

" However many people are getting tired of the constant politiking about the supposed raw deal unionist communities have got since the cessations from EU Peace funding. Deprivation and poverty exist across our diverse community and the reality is that these issues can only be tackled by ensuring that people receive resources commensurate with their need. That is what was decided in the last Assembly and agreed by the two governments and by the European Commission. Sinn Féin will fight to ensure that fairness and need underpin allocation during the extension of the funds. If some needy unionist communities have not made applications for funding in the past then the question must be asked about the encouragement they received from their own political representatives.

"Mr Allister welcomed the prospect of PEACE II extension in the European Parliament this morning. I hope he will now follow through and encourage those he feels could make use of such grants to apply, as they cannot receive funds if they do not submit an application. The application process should also be simplified to help those from all working-class communities. Sinn Féin will continue to fight for all who need to get in proportion to that need. Working class communities should not be pitted against one another in this way. This runs counter to the basis of peace building and reconciliation.

" Working class loyalist areas have been let down. They have been let down by the woeful political leadership which has been provided by the unionist parties including the DUP over the years. They have also been let down by organisations like the UDA who have devastated those very communities with drugs. The very obvious social and economic problems which exist within some loyalist communities will not end until these communities are given real political leadership and they will not be cured by trying to use their problems as a further weapon against impoverished nationalist communities.." ENDS

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