Northern Ireland

Victims group FAIR has £800,000 European funding axed

Willie Frazer
Image caption Willie Frazer said every penny Fair had received had gone to victims

Victims group, Families Acting For Innocent Relatives (Fair) has had more than £800,000 in European Union grants revoked.

It follows an investigation into the organisation's tendering process.

Fair director Willie Frazer said there were some paperwork errors but every penny went straight to victims.

The Special EU Programmes Body said there were "major failures" in Fair's ability to adhere to the conditions associated with its funding allocation.

It said had no option but to revoke all financial assistance.

More than £800,000 was allocated to Fair over three years.

Mr Frazer plans to fight the decision by the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) to revoke its funding.

"We would not dishonour our loved ones by misappropriating funding, the SEUPB has admitted that there is not a penny missing, that there are no financial irregularities whatsoever," he said.

"It certainly doesn't mean the end of the organisation, but it will have a major impact, because you cannot do things with people without having resources.

"And this may be blowing our own trumpet, but we have fought for years within the victims' sector and if anybody stands back and looks at the victims' sector there probably wouldn't be one if it hadn't been for the work put in by Fair and other groups."

Mr Frazer said he felt Fair had been "hammered" because it was not "politically correct".

In a statement, SEUPB said that after a "thorough audit" of the tendering and administration procedures used by Fair it had uncovered "major failures in the organisation's ability to adhere to the conditions associated with its funding allocation".

"The SEUPB is charged with ensuring the proper use of public money and as such has no option but to revoke all financial assistance, (amounting to approximately £880,000), that has been offered to the organisation," the statement added.

"Fair has been given every opportunity to respond to and address these issues.

"The decision to revoke and recover all financial assistance given to the project has not been taken lightly, however, given the seriousness of the issues no other recourse is available."