Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government support essential to PEACE III campaign

22 July, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún speaking after leading a party delegation
including Mitchel McLaughlin MLA and Arthur Morgan TD to meet the Irish EU
Affairs Minister Noel Treacy in Belfast today has said that both the British
and Irish governments have a central role in pressing the case for an EU
PEACE III programme for the period 2007 - 2013.

Ms de Brún said:

"Since late 2003 Sinn Féin has been campaigning and lobbying to secure a
Peace III programme for 2007-2013.

"There is an opening at EU level to secure continued funding for peace
building and reconciliation post 2006. The Irish and British governments
need to make a forceful case for a PEACE III programme now.

"Both governments also need to hear from the business community and the
community and voluntary sector the case for continued EU support.

"Last month we met with Jeff Rooker to press the case for continued support
for a PEACE III programme. While we still have concerns about how strongly
the British government will pursue the case, we were encouraged that Jeff
Rooker understood the need for continued peace funding and a bottom-up
approach to its design and delivery.

"We must act now to ensure that local communities and community
organisations are centrally involved in the planning and delivery any future
peace programme.

"Noel Treacy clearly understands the benefits that have accrued from EU
PEACE funding and would be strongly supportive of continued funding after

"Through its Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and its
contribution to the International fund for Ireland, the EU has given
practical support to the peace process by promoting equality, encouraging
links between north and south, and enhancing opportunities for

"PEACE funding has supported regeneration in areas disadvantaged by the
conflict and has promoted social inclusion through a greater bottom up and
partnership approach, and through joint north south delivery structures.

"Through the PEACE II extension the EU has recognised that peace and
reconciliation at grassroots level is not a short-term process and has
indicated a willingness to continue support at this important phase of the
peace process. I am confident that with effective lobbying at EU level and
strong backing from the two governments we can secure further support for
the 2007-2013 period.

"Financial support has created thousands of jobs and educational
opportunities, helped with the development of social, economic and physical
infrastructure and allowed many people who have been affected by the
conflict, by the negative impact of the border and suffered social exclusion
to greater realise their full potential.

"Sinn Féin have engaged with people and groups working on the ground,
tackling disadvantage, the legacy of the conflict and on conflict resolution
and peace building, with the support of EU peace funding, throughout the Six
Counties and the border counties. It is clear that there is an identifiable
need for a PEACE III programme to continue and build on this important
work." ENDS

Note to Editors

Bairbre de Brún MEP, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Michael Ferguson MLA met
British direct rule Minster Jeff Rooker on June 30th to press the case for a
an EU PEACE III programme for the period 2007 - 2013.

Bairbre de Brún MEP met with EU Regional Development Commissioner Danuta
Hübner on Monday April 18th in Brussels as part of Sinn Fein's ongoing work
to promote the need for a Peace III programme. She also invited Commissioner
Hübner to visit projects here in the North.

Commissioner Danuta Hübner announced the extension of the PEACE II programme
until the end of 2006 on June 3rd at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast,
providing an additional 144 million euro of funding to support the PEACE
Programme for 2005 and 2006. Commissioner Hübner also visited a number of
projects benefiting from EU Peace funding in Belfast.

The total Peace II programme budget for 2000 - 2006 is 852 million euro.

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