Concern at political intervention in allocation of Peace money
Sinn Féin's representatives on the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), Cllr Billy Leonard and Cllr Angela Nelson have said that they will be writing to both the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and the SEUPB seeking explanations about the political intervention of civil servants in the allocation of peace money funding for the Orange Order revealed in today's Daily Ireland.
Daily Ireland confirmed yesterday that the DFP informed the SEUPB that funding applications from the Orange Order should be dealt with without any reference to organisation's sectarian activities. The SEUPB then directed funding bodies to follow this line. This all follows political pressure from DUP MEP Jim Allister.
In a joint statement Councillors Billy Leonard and Angela Nelson said:
"The implications of this intervention by civil servants are immense. We have officials working behind the scenes to shape how peace money will be distributed. It is political and it is wrong. It contradicts the very principles of peace-building and peace-funding.
"This has compromised the integrity of the SEUPB. This week both of us attended the Regional Partnership Board under the auspices of the SEUPB. A DFP representative also attended but this political intervention was brought to the attention of representatives. It yet again reveals the difference between the public face of organisations and the 'political whisperings' of officials that are meant to be apolitical.
"Transparency, openness and the basic principles behind the partnership model have been compromised. We will seek explanations from both organisations and demand they clarify their position publicly." ENDS