De Brún meets Community Groups on Peace II Extension
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún met with a range of community sector organisations today to discus the implications for their work of the extension of the PEACE II programme and the future of EU funding more generally. The meetings with the community-based projects took place throughout the day, hosted by the Training for Women Network and Playboard, and the Falls Community Council.
Speaking today Ms de Brún:
"Sinn Féin lobbied successfully for an extension of the PEACE II programme. This November we welcomed and supported a proposal that would have seen an extra €120 million for 2005 and 2006.
"We have strongly supported PEACE II extension on the basis that it will allow key community sector projects and organisations to continue the important work of social inclusion, peace building and tackling discrimination.
"I am aware that throughout the community sector there is considerable concern with regard to the amount of money secured, the uncertainty with regard to 2006 and decisions about how this money will be prioritised and spent. Sinn Féin has stated for some time that future rounds of peace funding need to build on past strengths but also to learn from previous limitations and mistakes.
"The two governments must adopt an approach where groups working at the coalface of these programmes are central to the design and implementation of measures to distribute and use such funds.
'"Both governments need therefore to ensure that meaningful discussions are not limited to those with Brussels. Contact with those working at the coalface must also be ongoing, transparent, meaningful and respectful. Nothing should be planned or developed behind closed doors. This would be contrary to the ethos of PEACE
"Concern was expressed in particular about the future of positive action for women and about childcare. I reiterated today the support I expressed in the European Parliament committee meeting last week. This is a vital element of peacebuilding." ENDS