31/08/2001

MEP questions why EU funds went to republican group

An Ulster Unionist MEP has called for an official EU investigation into how thousands of pounds from the EU’s peace and reconciliation fund were allocated to a group for former republican prisoners.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson claimed that the funds had found their way into the hands of suspect IRA activist James Monaghan’s Tir Isteach group set up to assist former republican prisoners.

Speaking in Brussels on Friday, Mr Nicholson said: “EU taxpayers, through this fund, have given great support to Northern Ireland, but there is no way that their money should be given to those still engaged in unlawful activities.”

The European Parliament’s spending watchdog has already been made aware of the situation. I am certain that people across Europe would balk at the idea that their money could be being used by active terrorists. They deserve an official investigation.”

Mr Monaghan is one of three men detained in Colombia facing terrorist charges. (SP)

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