PEACE III funding essential to excellent peacebuilding work of community sector - de Brún
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that continued financial support for peace building and reconciliation from the EU can 'positively impact upon the peace process, on cross community initiatives and the positive involvement of marginalised groups in policy-making in the time ahead.
Ms de Brún made her comments as she welcomed over 20 community activists from projects funded under PEACE II to the European Parliament in Brussels this morning. They have come to Brussels in order to lobby MEPs and officials from the European Commission for a PEACE III programme from 2007-2013.
Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:
"Today's invitation to those working with PEACE funding from across the community sector is the latest in a series of Sinn Féin led initiatives to press the case for a PEACE III programme for Ireland. In recent months I have met both the British and Irish Governments and the European Commissioner for Regional Development, Danuta Hubner, in order to press the need for continued EU assistance. Gerry Adams also raised the issue with
Commissioner Hubner and with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week.
"Today, MEPs and officials from the European Commission will hear first hand from those at the coalface of community activism, and those groups and schemes which receive the funding, how vitally important a PEACE III programme would be.
"Sinn Féin has long called for a bottom-up approach to the design and delivery of a future PEACE III programme, and the need for greater input from the community sector so that the successes and the the lessons learnt from the weaknesses of the PEACE I and PEACE II programmes can be built upon. It is essential thtat community based organisations are fully involved in the design and implementation of the funding programmes.
"I am pleased by the Taoiseach's weekend comments when he said that the Irish government is committed to securing PEACE III. What we now require is a similar commitment from the British Government as quickly as possible. When I met with Commissioner Hubner in April of this year, and again when I accompanied Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald to meet with her last week, the Commissioner clearly demonstrated an openness to having a PEACE III. What we require now is real political will from the Irish and in particular British Government in order to assist the process of peace and reconciliation." ENDS