Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP was speaking in the European Parliament, Strasbourg this week on the International Fund for Ireland.  Mr. Gallagher called on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny to raise with the US President on St Patrick’s Day the continuation of US financial contributions to the IFI programme.
 
Mr. Gallagher stated “there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment as to the future of the IFI programme. The US House of Representatives recently voted to reduce IFI funding as part of an overall reduction to the US overseas budget. Following the vote, I contacted various members of the US Senate to seek a reversal of the decision.”
 
“The European Union has indicated support for an extension of the IFI programme as have the Irish and British governments.”
 
“Since it was established in 1986, the fund has provided more than EUR 838 million to a wide range of projects in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.”
 
“IFI continues to support projects in this economically disadvantaged region. Last week, it allocated over EUR 9.8 million to support educational and community initiatives in Northern Ireland and the counties of Donegal, Monaghan and Sligo.”
 
Mr. Gallagher said today “The Taoiseach will have several opportunities to raise the continuation of funding for the IFI programme with leading members of the US Congress and the US President next week. The International Fund for Ireland has played a major role in building peace and reconciliation in Ireland and I strongly believe it must be continued into the future on a more focused and targeted basis. I hope that the Taoiseach will do his utmost to persuade the US President of the need to continue the IFI programme.”