Euro Parliament lobby for support on policing
Sinn Féin met with Irish MEPs and group leaders at the European Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the EU's role in supporting the peace process, republican concern's over the police bill for the Six Counties and EU funding for Ireland.
Party Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin and South Dublin County Councillor, Seán Crowe, also met European Commission officials with responsibility for Structural funds.
``This is an important step in consolidating the peace process and putting across a whole range of concerns on political, socila and economic issues, including emergency funding for community and self-help groups who are facing a crisis because of the delay in releasing funds from the Community Support Framwork,'' McLaughlin said. The announcement by the Executive of £2million to help these groups, falls far short of the necessary funding, he said. Sinn Féin estimates that £5million would be needed.
While McLaughlin acknowledged that the MEPs have little direct power in the area of British legislation on policing, he said that they are ``clearly influential''. ``We have asked them to use whatever channels are available to them to give substance to their views communicated to us that Patten should be implemented in full''.
Almost all the Irish MEPs were met by the Sinn Féin delegation. They also met with Hans Gert Pottering, leader of the 232 Christian Democrat MEPs, and Munster MEP Pat Cox, who leads 51 members in the European Christian Democrats. Officials from the Socialist, Green and European United Left groups were also met.