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de Brún confident of progress on PEACE II women's measure

6 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has expressed confidence that some progress can be made on providing for positive action for women as part of the PEACE II extension.

Ms de Brún was speaking after intensive lobbying by the women‚s sector regarding concerns that PEACE II extension would see the amalgamation of the positive action for women measure and the end of any support for childcare.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"A wide range of groups whom I met with expressed concerns over the proposed way that positive action for women and childcare measures would be dealt with as part of the PEACE II extension. In particular there was great concern that the merging of measure 1.5 would sideline gender equality measures in funding and that the removal of measure 2.5 would have a huge impact on women and children.

"I have now been told by the Department of Finance and Personnel that they hope that they have been able to respond to the concerns on the women‚s issues by agreeing to a separate measure with a proportionate allocation. They have also said that there will be a place for childcare projects to apply and the criteria will make them fully eligible.

"It remains to be seen what this will mean in practical terms, but I am confident that some progress can now be made on providing for positive action for women as part of the PEACE II extension.

"During the recent European Parliament debate in the Regional Development Committee, I reiterated my previous calls for community-based projects to be prioritised, and stressed the importance of social inclusion and the role of women in reconciliation. Indeed the issue of positive action for women was addressed by all of the north‚s three MEPs on that occasion."ENDS

Note to editor:

Over 20 million euro has been invested in children and related projects through the PEACE II programme.

17 million euro of PEACE II funding has been awarded to 183 groups directly supporting women.

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