Bairbre de Brún confirms EU Commissioner's visit in 2005
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today confirmed that EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Danuta Hubner will visit Ireland in the course of 2005. Ms de Brún said that she was very much looking forward to discussing with Commissioner Hubner 'the contribution of EU Regional Policy to all-Ireland planning and policy implementation and the plan for future funding when PEACE II expires in 2006'.
Ms de Brún had written to the Commissioner, saying "This would be a good time for you to visit the North of Ireland to see the tremendous benefits that have flowed from EU support for peace building through the Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and the contribution to the International Fund for Ireland.
I hope you will find time to meet with me and give strong consideration for a visit to the North of Ireland in 2005."
In a letter to Bairbre de Brún MEP, Commissioner Hubner confirmed that they would meet, welcomed the fact that it had been possible to secure the extension of funding for PEACE II to 2006, albeit less than the Commission had hoped for, and said "I certainly intend to visit the region during the course of 2005".
Speaking this afternoon, Ms de Brún said:
"I would be delighted to welcome EU Commissioner for Regional Policy to Ireland. Sinn Féin recognises and commends European Union support for the PEACE programme and the contribution it has made towards peace building throughout the island but particularly in the 6 counties and border regions.
"It is important that Commissioner Hubner is able to see the very real benefits of continued PEACE funding for herself, and the impact upon local communities. This funding is vitally important if we are to help promote national reconciliation, social inclusion and peace building in Ireland.
2005 is an important year in terms of decisions about any possible further support and a visit by the Commissioner will demonstrate that this programme is not only worthy but also has practical impact on the ground. This is why I wrote to Commissioner Hubner asking her to come.
"I will also discuss future funding with Commissioner Hubner when I meet with her in Brussels in the New Year, as the extension to PEACE II will expire in 2006. I will be emphasising the importance of sustained EU support through a PEACE III programme." ENDS
Ms de Brún is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development.