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Sinn Fein seek £10 Billion major Peace Dividend

28 March, 2006

A high level Sinn Fein delegation consisting of Bairbre de Brún MEP, General
Secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Caoimhghin O Caolain TD, and Dara O'Hagan
met with British Secretary of State Peter Hain and his officials this
morning, Tuesday 28th March, at Stormont Castle to press for a £10 billion,
10-year Peace Dividend.

Speaking following the meeting Bairbre de Brún MEP said:

"A Sinn Féin delegation met this morning with British Secretary of State,
Peter Hain and his officials to press the case for a substantial investment
in peace by the British government. We will be making the same case to the
Irish government. Both governments have already acknowledged the validity of
the arguments about the need to invest in conflict resolution and there is a
broad consensus between the parties on what is required.

"There is a clear responsibility to build the peace and tackle the many
causes and effects of the conflict. Sinn Fein believes that any incoming
local Executive should have a major Peace Dividend at its disposal so that
local Ministers can deliver an agreed programme that puts stability and
growth at the top of the agenda.

"We indicated that there is significant scope for transferring 'security'
expenditure into a major strategy that can underpin the economic and
infrastructure transformation of our society. This would be a clear
indication by the British government of its recognition of the need for
investment in peace. We also pointed out the fact that in the event of a
fully functioning Executive and institutions across the range of functions,
the expenditure level at the NIO would also come into question..

"It is the Sinn Féin belief that in order to build confidence in the
political process in society as a whole there needs to be recognisable
benefits on the ground. We believe that the two governments are capable of
and should deliver on a £10 billion, pound 10-year Peace Building Strategy.
This should be targeted at eradicating the regional socio and economic
disparities that exist and to support the development of all-Ireland
strategies and synergies, particularly along the border corridor. The
potential of language based regeneration should not be ignored.

" This morning's meeting was both important and positive. We are committed
to further work on the issues raised this morning. " ENDS

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