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EU funding must continue on an all-Ireland basis - de Brún

5 July, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this afternoon delivered a speech in the European Parliament on Structural funding. Ms de Brún said that 'Structural Funding is reshaping the economic infrastructure of Ireland as a European Region'.

Ms de Brún was speaking after she delivered her speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She also commended the report on the European Regional Development Fund by Giovanni Claudio Fava MEP.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"I want to broadly welcome the report by Giovanni Claudio Fava MEP.

"Structural Funding has helped to reshape the economic infrastructure of Ireland as a European Region and we believe that future funding must have an all-Ireland dimension to it. In addition, we are keen to see future investment targeted at the most disadvantaged areas including ruralcommunities along the border between north and south of the island - communities which have suffered as a result of partition and conflict.

"The report's focus on social inclusion is an aspect with which I am particularly pleased with. The commitment to remove obstacles to people with

disabilities and a commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunities are principles which I think we can all support. Programmes should have a 'bottom up' approach, where local communities have a say in the design and implementation of projects. In this context we welcome amendments to the ERDF proposal that strengthen the contribution to the social economy but I and my party do not favour the use of public privatepartnerships.

"I welcome the inclusion by Mr Fava and by the committee of an amendment from my own group aimed at preventing any unnecessary delay in the establishment and implementation of the operational programme. Such delays have caused real problems for projects in the past.

"On a broader level, the EU faces a considerable challenge in ensuring that both established and newer member states receive consistent levels of ERDF funding on the basis of need and that economically disadvantaged and marginalized areas and communities receive priority investment. I am also of the view that more consideration must be shown to the environmental consequences of EU funded projects." ENDS

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