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Jim Allister should not make mischief over PEACE funding

27 July, 2005


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that Jim Allister MEP should not make mischief over EU PEACE funding.

Ms de Brún made her comments after it emerged that Mr Allister had addressed a letter to 26 Local Strategy Partnerships (LSPs) across the North, requesting the disclosure of information relating to the religious breakdown of staff members although they employ too few staff to be required to do so.

Mr Allister has also launched an attack on the cross-border consortium ADM/CPA (Area Development Management/Combat Poverty Agency).

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"In recent times Jim Allister has made a number of unfounded allegations about the distribution of funding under the EU PEACE programme and has clearly been trawling for information with the aim of making further mischief.

"We are aware that he has written to all the LSPs in the North asking for a breakdown in the religious make-up of their workforce even though he knows that they employ so few people that they are not required to document, much less to divulge such information. In at least one case the response would have meant telling the DUP the religious persuasion of their one employee. Furthermore the funding measure referred to in Mr Allister's letter was not one for which LSPs are even responsible.

"Having failed to find information with which he could make mischief from this source he has now turned his attention to the cross-border consortium ADM/CPA (Area Development Management/Combat Poverty Agency).

"While Mr Allister has clearly done some good work in persuading more unionists to apply for funding and may have a useful contribution to make, he is going about this the wrong way. The overall tenor of his campaign remains one of mischief-making. Such an approach will not serve to increase unionist confidence in the all-important work of reconciliation and peace-building carried out with EU PEACE funding.

Mr Allister is being disingenuous and is continuing to mislead the unionist community in regards to PEACE funding allocation. Any objective analysis of the facts show that his claims of an inherent anti-unionist bias in this funding are without foundation.

"Indeed, an SEUPB report (Special EU Programmes Body) acknowledges that the greater level of funding uptake by the Catholic population is a direct result of 'the higher levels of deprivation in Catholic areas'. Many of the facts and figures relating to deprivation in the Six Counties are included in the report for all to see. Over 70% of people living in the top 10% of the most deprived DEA wards are Catholic. Figures such as these are indisputable.

"Sinn Féin has long argued that funding must been distributed on the basis of need, and can only be based on such criteria in future. Mr Allister's time would be better spent working to ensure that all communities, regardless of their religious or ethnic make up can avail of PEACE Funding based upon objective need, rather than engage in mischievous and inappropriate endeavors." ENDS

Note to Editor:

The SEUPB report 'Community Uptake Analysis of PEACE II' can be accessed at www.seupb.org under the Reports and Publications section.

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