Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that businesses should now be preparing robust business cases in order to access the £208m announced by Special European Union Programme Body (SEUPB) today.
Ms. Anderson said,
“I welcome the fast that over £208m has been made available through SEUPB in the new cross-border co-operation programme.
“This money will soon be available for small businesses and enterprises along the border region in order to improve employment opportunities as well as environmental projects.
“The money which will be divided into four categories of research and innovation, the environment, sustainable transport, and health will allow over 400 businesses to access money as well as bringing improved environment projects to over 10,000 people.
“I have already brought many interested groups to Brussels over the past few years and will continue to assist these groups in accessing funding.
“I would appeal to these businesses and interested groups to start preparing robust business cases as competition for this money will be very competitive.
“The application process and deadline dates will soon be on the SEUPB website at www.seupb.eu so it should be monitored so that deadlines are not missed.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has praised the Glasgowbury project in Draperstown for its innovative use of creative technologies in rural areas.
Speaking after visiting the project Ms Anderson said;
“The Glasgowbury music festival is known far and wide and was rightly recognised as one of the best festivals in Ireland.
“Alongside the festival, Glasgowbury now offers a range of courses for young people including music, creative entrepreneurship, community arts and outreach.
“I visited Glasgowbury alongside Francie Molloy and met with Paddy Glasgow, the man behind the project.
“The centre is open 80 hours a week providing much-needed services in the Draperstown area. Thanks to funding from Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín they have also been able to purchase a van to help young touring bands.
“What Paddy Glasgow and his team have achieved at Glasgowbury shows that it is possible to deliver first-class community services in rural areas.
“This innovative approach means young people living in rural areas are able to access state-of-the-art services in their own communities.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the heads of EU governments to show compassion for those suffering from austerity policies.
Speaking following a debate in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson said;
“Solidarity is most important in times of struggle. Solidarity with the Greek people has been lacking in some of the EU governments in their recent struggle.
“This includes the Fine Gael and Labour government in Dublin who themselves have been obedient agents of austerity in Ireland.
“This obedience was evident recently in the comments from Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem when he said that Greece ‘should follow Ireland’ which he said ‘is making strong progress on all fronts’.
“I wonder how the Eurogroup president defines ‘progress?’ Clearly there is no consideration here for the human cost of austerity in Ireland or elsewhere.
“All fronts seemingly does not include the most vulnerable in society such as the homeless, the disabled or unemployed who are bearing the brunt of austerity in Ireland and Greece or families broken up through emigration.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said public representatives must use all tools at their disposal to end violence against children.
Speaking after taking part in a European Parliament conference entitled ‘Global views on violence against children,’ Ms Anderson said;
“There are ongoing tragedies taking pace in countries like Syria, Central African Republics, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere and children are among those paying the highest price.
“We must not stand by while international conventions are flouted and a whole generation of children and young people are burdened with physical or mental scars which will take generations to heal.
“We must also look within Europe and recognise the impact of the financial crisis on children. When jobs are lost and families are in despair it is the children who suffer.
“Children also face new threats in the form or cyber bullying and online abuse and these too must be combatted.
“We need to educate people to look for the signs of child abuse and to enable them to speak up.
“A grassroots approach which empowers children, families and communities is the only way to make meaningful change and protect children and young people.
“As legislators it is our responsibility to use all the tools to ensure the protection of children.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the British government to fund investigations into human rights abuses carried out by Britain during the conflict.
Ms Anderson said;
“The latest annual report from Amnesty International into human rights abuses has highlighted the lack of resources for mechanisms to deal with the past.
“The report describes the institutions in place to deal with the legacy of the conflict as being carried out in a ‘fragmented and incremental manner.’
“It specifically mentions the lack of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane and the case of the hooded men.
“The British government cannot hide from its human rights responsibilities in relation to the legacy of the conflict here, particularly its Article 2, right to life obligations in cases of collusion and its shoot-to-kill policy.
“It cannot continue to use excuses of financial pressures as an excuse to deny relatives access to truth and justice.
“Last year I brought the Council of Europe’s Human Right’s Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, to a conference in Belfast where called on Britain to live up to its responsibilities to deal with its human rights failures in Ireland.
“I reiterate his call for the British government to foot the bill for effective investigations into state killings and other human rights abuses.”
“I will continue to work with relatives who are campaigning for truth and justice.”
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for immediate assistance to ensure that toys collected by Irish people for children in Gaza can be delivered as soon as possible.
Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;
“The people of Ireland, like millions of others around the world, were moved by the plight of the the children of Gaza who bore the brunt of the Israeli onslaught.
“Thousands of people across Ireland raised funds and donated toys for the children in Gaza as part of the Gaza Toy Drive.
“Seven shipping containers will be filled in a warehouse before being shipped to Alexandria in a journey that will take more than three weeks.
“All of this costs money of course and additional funding is now urgently needed to cover the storage and shipping costs associated with the delivery of these toys to the children.
“It is important that these toys get to the children in Gaza and bring some joy into their lives and let them know that the international community cares.
“I would call for organisations and individuals who are in a position to help to show some generosity and assist the Gaza Toy Drive. Anyone wishing to help find more information at www.gazatoydrive.org”