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Sinn Féin call for publication of audit reports showing growth of all-Ireland agenda

25 July, 2005

Sinn Féin General Secretary, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the British government of withholding two audit reports produced by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) that reflect the growth in all-Ireland activity and called for their immediate publication.

Speaking today Mr McLaughlin said:

"The Good Friday Agreement set out a range of all-Ireland areas of cooperation and implementation bodies which formalised the process of harmonising and coordinating the work of government on an all-Ireland scale. The Common Chapter gave a structure within which much of this work was to be taken forward in order to deliver an all-Ireland economy.

"The SEUPB had a defined role to 'record and promote' the degree and extent of all-Ireland activity. This was agreed by the two Governments and all parties to the agreement and was reflected within the legal instrument establishing the SEUPB.

"To date, the SEUPB has produced two reports detailing all-Ireland activity over the past four years. They will demonstrate a clear growth in this activity reflecting the widening recognition of the necessity and irreversibility of the path towards ever-greater integration along the path to political unity.

"I understand that the SEUPB have been ready to publish these reports for a number of months now and that the problem resides with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment who are delaying publication of these documents using the suspension of the Six County Executive as an excuse.

"I am appalled that the 'care and maintenance' arrangements which were put in place by the two governments following the British Government's suspension of the Six County Executive are now being used to withhold these documents. I am also concerned that this reflects the DETI bowing to the political sensitivities of Unionist politicians who don't want the wider public to understand the real state of play in Ireland today.

"Care and Maintenance arrangements were supposed to mean that all-Ireland bodies would continue the work to which they had already been committed." ENDS

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