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Bairbre de Brún calls for EU Parliament support for PEACE II and IFI

14 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning urged the European Parliament and the European Council to "continue their positive signals and support for the Irish peace process". Ms de Brún was speaking before the presentation of two reports to the European Parliament. Votes will be taken both today and tomorrow to extend funding for Peace II and the IFI.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms de Brún said:

"I wish to welcome the reports being presented this week to the EU Parliament. It is important that all measures are processed speedily and allow continued funding for peace building in the New Year. We have all seen the negative consequences of gap funding projects and measures.

"Sinn Féin is calling upon fellow MEPs to support the proposal for extended funding for the PEACE II Programme and the International Fund for Ireland for a further two years.

"Many people recognise the importance of the PEACE Programme to a continuing process of conflict resolution in Ireland. Such funding is vitally important if we are to help promote national reconciliation, social inclusion and peace building. A positive signal from the European Union at this stage of the peace process would be an important recognition of its support for the efforts of those who work at the coalface of conflict resolution.

"It is also important to stress that PEACE funding should be distributed on the basis of need. Peace funding cannot be allocated on the basis of religious or political affiliation. It must be and can only be allocated on the basis of need.

"Both myself and my colleague Mary Lou McDonald MEP, urge the European Parliament to play its part in helping to consolidate the Irish peace process at this important time, resulting in an immediate and positive impact upon people and projects at the coalface of peace building in Ireland." ENDS

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