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Sinn Féin meet Jeff Rooker to press for PEACE III programme

30 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today led a party delegation to meet with Direct Rule Minister Jeff Rooker to push for a PEACE III programme.

Today's meeting was part of a series of on-going initiatives to push for a PEACE III programme. Ms de Brún was joined at today‚s meeting by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Michael Ferguson MLA. The current PEACE II extension will end next year.

Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:

"Today's meeting with Jeff Rooker was a constructive engagement around PEACE funding and we impressed upon him the need for continued support to cover the period 2007 -2013. While we still have concerns about how strongly the British government will pursue the case for a PEACE III, we were encouraged that Jeff Rooker understands the need for continued peace funding and a bottom-up approach to its design and delivery.

"In particular we were encouraged that Jeff Rooker understands that laying the grounds for a successful programme means you don‚t leave the planning to the last minute.

"We outlined the need for community based organizations 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 marginalized in recent decades. It is particularly important that future funds are distributed on the basis of need.

"We impressed upon Mr Rooker the importance of the PEACE I and PEACE II programmes towards the process of conflict resolution and community development. Both the British and Irish Governments must commit themselves to helping secure additional funding for the period 2007 - 2013.

"I recently visited a number of community groups who have benefited from this funding. I was able to see at first hand the benefits that have arisen from EU support for peace and reconciliation. Sinn Féin is keen to see that practical support for the peace process continued and built upon in the coming years.

"Issues affecting the southern border counties were raised at the meeting with Jeff Rooker by Caoimhgin Ó Caoláin TD. He dealt in particular with the issue of rural and cross border reconciliation. He stressed the importance of a PEACE III for building on newly developing opportunities." ENDS

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