Governments must deliver on financial commitments – Murphy

By David Young, PA

Financial commitments made by the UK and Irish governments as part of the deal to restore Stormont must now be delivered, the region’s new finance minister has said.

Conor Murphy said the local parties had done their part by going back into a devolved executive and it was time for the governments to honour their pledges on funding.

The bulk of the new funding linked to the “New Decade, New Approach” deal is to be provided by the Treasury. There is expectation it could add up to billions of pounds.

Much of it will be used to address the multiple problems that have beset public services in the region during the three year powersharing impasse.

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Top of the list is a high-profile pay dispute involving health care workers and action to reduce spiralling hospital waiting lists.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith had declined to provide detail on the sums involved until the deal to bring back devolution was sealed.

The Irish government will honour commitments to part-fund some north/south projects, such as the A5 dual carriageway and a redevelopment of the Ulster canal system.

Ulster powersharing
Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney (left) and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith publishing the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Murphy said it was time for the administrations in London and Dublin to deliver.

“The New Decade, New Approach document presented by the governments contains ambitious commitments for public services and workers,” he said.

“To deliver these commitments, the governments pledged a substantial injection of funding, over and above the block grant.

“The local parties have done their part by restoring the powersharing executive.

“The two governments must now honour their pledge and provide the funding needed to deliver on the New Decade, New Approach document.”