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Women’s Sector must be supported through Peace III

3 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Women's Issues, Jennifer McCann has welcomed the specific reference to the promotion of women's programmes within the next round of EU Funding.

Speaking after a Peace III seminar in County Donegal attended by Sinn Féin clloeagues from Derry including Cllr Maeve McLaughlin, Ms McCann said:

"The women's sector has and continues to play a vital role on the ground and on a daily basis in our communities. It plays a central role in service delivery often against a backdrop of limited resources, limited programme costs and the majority of the work being carried out on voluntary basis. Women have particular skills that have been central to community development and community empowerment.

"Whilst I fully support the inclusion of the women's sector within this funding stream it must not be just lip service to the sector. It is crucial that all of those groups that have been delivering on the ground within communities across Ireland have a central voice in the delivery of local authority action plans.

"There is a very real concern across the women's sector that their voices will be excluded or marginalised within the development of these action plans.

"It is apparent that this round of funding will be more of a top down strategic approach, therefore it is vital that the sector is represented and the positive contribution played by women groups is acknowledged, supported and enhanced.

"It is equally important that the Special European Programme Body (SEUPB) clarify the role, remit and recruitment on the various steering groups being tasked to agree the priorities on regional actions plans. There can be no room for confusion and there is a requirement that the women's sector is key to its delivery." ENDS

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