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15 September 2005 Edition

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Nationalist areas refused funding

Sinn Féin has asked MEP Bairbre de Brún to challenge in Strasbourg, the funding decisions made by the Lisburn Strategic Partnership after it emerged that two thirds of the funding applications it refused were from groups from the Catholic community.

The partnership, on which five unionist and two nationalist councillors sit, has close to £1m to allocate over the next year, and the majority of the applications it turned down came from groups in the nationalist Twinbrook and Poleglass areas which are among the most deprived in Belfast.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson said the majority of applications coming from the nationalist area were refused on the basis that they did not address the issue of reconciliation. "But we were told that applications coming from unionist area did address the issue of reconciliation. I will be asking every group from Twinbrook and Poleglass who have been refused to put in an appeal immediately, and I will be asking our MEP and Sinn Féin representatives on monitoring bodies to challenge the exclusion of nationalist groups on such spurious grounds".

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