Gerry Adams calls for continued EU support for the peace process
The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is in Brussels today where he is holding a series of meetings with political groups, as well as the Regional Development Commissioner Danuta Hubner. He is accompanied by the Party's two MEPs Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brun.
Mr. Adams said:
"Today's series of meetings is an opportunity for me to brief people on the peace process, to seek practical support for our efforts to bed down that process, including the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and to raise the key democratic goal of an end to partition.
"Sinn Féin is aware of the important role the EU has played in assisting the development of peace in Ireland, primarily through the financial contributions to the Peace Programmes and the International Fund for Ireland.
"It is now time to strengthen and expand this support in a number of ways.
"Key to this is the promotion of dialogue between all sides.
"The EU can also play a key role in helping to ensure that the British and Irish governments live up to all of there commitments as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.
"Clearly there is a strong case and pressing need for a Peace III programme which would build on the successes of earlier rounds of peace funding. Such a fund, which could run from 2007 to 2013, could greatly assist the bedding down of the peace process. A peace III fund would also assist in dealing with the legacy of conflict in terms of tackling social and economic exclusion, and discrimination and building local and national reconciliation. Such a fund must be additional to existing levels of government expenditure and allocated on the basis of need.
"There is also a case for extending to Ireland some of the rehabilitation programmes which are run by the External Affairs Directorate of the Commission.
"The reality is that there is now the potential to develop strategies and policies which can positively change the future of Ireland, and reshape the type of country that we want to live in for future generations as well as this generation. The EU can play an important role in this.
"Sinn Féin's focus in the time immediately ahead will be on consolidating the peace process and seeking the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS