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SEUPB Actively Undermining Potential of Peace III - Bairbre de Brún

22 September, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has reacted angrily to the SEUPB's proposals for Delivery Structures for Peace III. Following the allocation of €267 million for a Peace III programme earlier this year the SEUPB conducted a round of pre-consultation on the content and delivery mechanism for the new fund.

This week they circulated a discussion paper outlining their views on the possible delivery mechanisms for Peace III. Central to their proposals is the British government's 'A Shared Future' document, a document that has been heavily criticised as misusing the term 'community relations' in order to undermine equality measures. In the latest SEUPB proposals, the Community Relations Council is proposed as the only Intermediary Funding Body, moving away from the distinctiveness of the PEACE programme and the benefits that EU Commission involvement has brought to peace building and reconciliation for more than a decade now.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Peace III provides communities here with a significant opportunity to continue important work across a wide range of areas including tackling discrimination, promoting social inclusion, addressing the legacy of discrimination, building good community relations and promoting national reconciliation. It also provides important opportunities for community empowerment, promotion of Irish language development, assistance for victims and survivors of the conflict and reintegration of former political prisoners into family and community life.

"The Programme as initiated by the European Union makes space for all of these objectives.

"Unfortunately the SEUPB appears intent on dramatically narrowing the scope and potential of the programme. The central focus on the British government's 'A Shared Future' policy makes clear the SEUPB's narrow focus on only one kind of work as a definition of peace building.

"Furthermore their proposal of the Community Relations Council as the sole Intermediate Funding Body distributing the Peace III programme, reinforces this narrow definition of peace building.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the SEUPB is working to a narrow political agenda, promoting a definition of peace building that panders to specific political interests. In doing so they are actively undermining the great potential that exists within Peace III and are acting contrary to the intended purpose of the peace programme as designed by the European Union.

"I will be seeking urgent meetings with European Commissioner Danuta Huebner and Direct Rule Minister David Hanson in the coming weeks

"The SEUPB needs to radically reconsider its position if it is to succeed in ensuring that the benefits of Peace III are realised." ENDS

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