SF MEP calls for joint action from northern MEPs to secure Peace III
Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun has today called for join action by the North's three MEPs to secure a future Peace III programme. This joint action could include the three northern MEPs sponsoring a community sector delegation to travel to Brussels to explain to MEPs the benefits of the peace fund programes.
Speaking after a number of meetings with EU officials, de Brun said:
'Sinn Fein has been lobbying for a Peace III programme for the last number of months. In our view the European Commission is open and receptive to the idea. It is incumbent on those of us who support such a programme to work together to ensure that the British and Irish governments make the formal request for a Peace programme III from 2007 to 2013.
'In particular I am calling on Jim Nicholson MEP and Jim Allister MEP to work with myself and other Irish MEPs to ensure that the European Parliament, the Commission and the two governments do everything they can to ensure a third round of the peace funds.
'One important aspect of this is to inform our colleagues in the European Parliament of the real impact that the PEACE programmes and EU support for the International Fund for Ireland have had on the ground. MEPs who see at first hand the tremendous work carried out in local areas as a result of EU support for peace and reconciliation will be better disposed to allocate funds in the future to continue this work.
'One good way of doing this would be for the three Northern MEPs to jointly sponsor a delegation of community projects funded under PEACE I and II to come to Brussels and explain to MEPs the value of the funds.
'This week I met with Commissioner Danta Hubner. I presented her with Sinn Feins case for a Peace III fund. I outlined the need for community based organisations to be fully involved in the design and implementation of the funding programmes. I explained the need for future funds to be directed to the twin goals of reconciliation and social inclusion, in order to combat the legacy of the conflict particularly for those most marginalised in recent decades.' ENDS