Martina Anderson MEP speaking to local journalists after a very successful EU funding seminar which she hosted in Walsh’s Hotel, Maghera on Friday (18th October)  said:

“Since being selected as an MEP over a year ago, I have dedicated a lot of my constituency time to engaging with groups and organisations in different areas across the north as well as border counties.

“During these encounters I was surprised at the insufficient flow of information on the EU Funding available to to our local SMEs, Community & Voluntary groups and Independent Retail sector, resulting in minimal draw-down of funding.

“I’ve therefore prioritised this area of work because research shows we in the north are not fully availing of funding opportunities in Europe. In order to address the knowledge deficit on how to access funding I decided to take a number of delegations to Europe. Most recently I hosted the Chambers of Commerce and representatives from the Independent Retail Trade sector from across the North and Border Counties in Brussels.

“There are nine EU programmes coming on stream, the major one Horizon 2020, will have a massive budget of €70billion for distribution.  At our engagement in Maghera, we explored these opportunities in more detail and signaled local groups and businesses to the benefit of liaising with OFMDFM officials from The European Centre for Delivering Social Change, as well as Head of the European Commission Office in Belfast, Colette Fitzgerald, all of whom have a wealth of experience between them and are available to assist and advise local business and Universities etc on how to maximise funding opportunities.

“The seminar in Maghera was an excellent opportunity for  those attending to receive much needed information  It was gratifying to see such a large turnout and if the feed-back is a gauge of satisfaction then it was a great success.”

Ms. Anderson also informed the seminar of her recent work as a Shadow Rapporteur who takes a robust public health promotion approach in the European Parliament regarding the Tobacco Products Directive as well as initiatives aimed at eliminating Caste discrimination and barriers placed in the way of ethnic minorities.

The Sinn Fein MEP also gave details of her involvement in the fight for a Youth Jobs Gurantee while tabling proposals in relation to Food Fraud as well as her leading role in a forthcoming fact finding visit to  Gaza on behalf of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The seminar was organised by South Derry Sinn Féin and chaired by Ian Milne MLA.