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DUP claims on PEACE funding must be publicly challenged - de Brún

4 July, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún and Belfast Councillor Caral Ni Chuilin have today said that 'claims of anti-unionist bias in the allocation of PEACE funding are without foundation and must to be challenged publicly.'

Ms de Brún and Councillor Ni Chuilin made their comments before tonight's meeting of Belfast City Council where DUP Councillors are expected to put forward a motion claiming that unionists did not receive proportionate levels of European funding under the PEACE I and PEACE II programmes.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"The DUP have been running the line recently that unionists have been discriminated against through the allocation and distribution of PEACE funding. I am publicly challenging the DUP on this. The DUP assertion that there has been an anti-unionist bias in the allocation of PEACE funding is without foundation. Funding has been distributed on the basis of need, and can only be based on such criteria in future.

"If the DUP concentrated more on giving support to community groups than making unfounded allegations then there would be no need to have this discussion. The irony will be not lost on people that the DUP are diametrically opposed to the peace process, yet engage without difficulty when it comes to funding secured as a result of the process of conflict resolution in Ireland.

Cllr Ni Chuilin added:

"The Sinn Féin group in Belfast City Council will be vigorously opposing the motion by DUP councillors this evening. This is another in a long line of attempts by the DUP to portray the unionist community as being consistently disadvantaged and discriminated against in favour of the Catholic community. Their stunts will not wash with the ordinary people of Belfast who recognise that disadvantage and deprivation affect all communities in the city." ENDS

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