Paul Frew Chairperson of the Justice Committee has stressed to Department of Justice Officials that Fresh Start Funding, some £50 Million of five years, and support must reach out from inner city parts of Belfast and Londonderry and assist the people and communities in areas in rural towns and villages that are still plagued with Paramilitary activity,organised criminality & violence.
Paul Frew speaking after he chaired a meeting whereby The Executive Action Plan was discussed with officials stated “Whilst people will consider £50 million as a lot of money it could be spent very quickly with the pressures on policing, the action plan will ensure it is spent on a wider strategic framework. This money is to be spent within 5 years and again that is a very short pressurised period of time for plans to be put in place in order to tackle the scourge of paramilitarism and criminality.
This support must reach out beyond the city and into the rural areas where communities still struggle under the grip of paramilitary violence. We need to have plans in place to build community capacity, programmes in our schools to inform thinking and divert young people away from the lure of criminality. Opportunity for employment to allow families to lift themselves out of poverty and away from the clutches of organised crime.
Our Community groups fought hard throughout the troubles to keep young people inspired and to support families under pressure. That work should be acknowledged with continuing support.”