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Funding for IMC a "grotesque abuse of taxpayers money"

17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described the Irish government's plans to fund the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission with a further €1.5million as "reprehensible" and a "grotesque abuse of taxpayers money." Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments during this afternoons Committee meeting which is dealing with the Justice Estimates for 2006. He said there were much more deserving and worthwhile recipients of the funding.

The Dublin South Central TD said, "It is absolutely ridiculous that the Irish government is planning to provide the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission with a further €1.5m in funding. Have they learned nothing from the negative role that this politically motivated body has already played in the evolution of the peace process?

"The Irish Government in conjunction with the British Government created this out of control monster. Rather than continue to feed it they should immediately starve it of funding. It has not and cannot play any useful role whatsoever. Its reports are based on nothing more than the so-called intelligence reports of one of the main protagonists in the conflict, and the political machinations of those who make up the body. It has absolutely no credibility. For the Irish government to continue with its funding is reprehensible. It is a grotesque abuse of taxpayers' money.

"So rather than fund a body that plays a negative and harmful role in the peace process and which was set up outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement the Government should be looking at supporting those bodies that were set up as part of the Agreement.

"The Human Rights Commission is one such body. Its purpose is to endeavour to ensure that the human rights of all people in the State are fully realised and protected, in law, in policy and in practice. However, the Commission is to get just €1.9million to undertake its crucial and worthy role - that is only marginally greater than the funding given to Lord Alderdice and the other spooks in the IMC. Evidently the government parties would rather spend taxpayers money protecting their own narrow political agenda than resourcing the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and protecting human rights. It's crazy.

"It is also worth noting that Michael McDowell's grant to the IMC for 2006 is three times the size of the grant to national womens organisations for the same period. I think that says an awful lot about the Minister with responsibility for promoting equality." ENDS

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