Sinn Féin challenges British Government on its commitments regarding EU Structural Funds
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today challenged the British Government to move beyond the narrow, staid approach to the use of EU Funds that makes passing reference to equality, all-Ireland work and the need to involve civil society while making no real attempt to do anything about any of these issues.
Ms de Brún made her comments after submitting a detailed document to the Department of Finance and Personnel outlining Sinn Féin’s views on European Union Structural funds for the next six years and expressing concerns regarding the British Government’s priorities for such funding.
Speaking today Ms de Brún said:
“I want to take this opportunity to call on the British Government to reassess its position regarding the priorities for EU Structural Funding between 2007 – 2013. I am concerned that the British Government has not sufficiently taken into account a number of areas which I believe to be vital to the delivery of an efficient Structural Funds programme in the six counties.
“I have written to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) to register my strong concerns that there is an almost singular focus on economic growth at the expense of social cohesion, environmental protection, sustainable development and socio-economic equality. Failure to adequately focus on these issues will simply deepen the existing socio-economic disparities within the local economy, creating a greater gap between those who benefit from any increase in competitiveness and those who don't.
“In addition, the DFP has decided to consult separately on the issue of cross-border co-operation and has made no real attempt to achieve the necessary all-Ireland synergies in the use of EU funds in the next period. Given the success the South has had in using European money compared to our own, the decision to remain inward-looking is a great concern.
“I am calling upon the British Government to revise their position on the implementation of the EU Structural Funds and to move beyond the narrow, staid approach of making passing reference to equality, all-Ireland work and the need to involve civil society while making no real attempt to do anything about any of these issues. EU funding has been of great benefit and assistance to local communities throughout the north and has allowed communities to examine their potential and provide first class community services. With an open and dynamic approach from the statutory sector, it could achieve so much more” ENDS