McNulty presses Ministers on EU funding for projects

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Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
Politics
SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty says he has written to Government Ministers North and South to press for urgent approvals of some key North-South Projects which are funded under the INTERREG VA programme. justin4Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty explained, “This area more than any other knows the real benefits being part of the European Union has brought in terms of EU Funding. “For many years millions of euro have been drawn down by local authorities through the various Peace, Rural and Interreg Programmes which have supported a wide range of community and sporting groups. “In addition to this the funds have also delivered significant investment in local businesses, infrastructure for our tourism / hospitality sector as well as key environmental sustainability projects. The local MLA continued, “Many of these projects or groups would not have been funded without the various EU funding streams and there are still many planned for this region in the near future. “At present the East Border Region group, which is a partnership of local authorities from the border counties is bidding for projects with a total value of €43.3million and it is imperative that our governments, north and south don’t delay in giving the necessary approvals for the projects to move ahead. “The SDLP have met with officials from East Border Region and have offered whatever support we can in the weeks and months ahead. Since the Brexit result was declared on Friday 24th June there has been significant uncertainty about the future of EU funding. “However last month the UK’s Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed that the UK Government will underwrite any projects which are signed up before his Autumn Statement. This is welcome news, however it challenges the administrations in Belfast and Dublin to get their houses in order and ensure all the necessary approvals are in place before then,” he insisted.
Article continues below:
September 2016“Current proposals by East Border Region range from new Greenways between Newry and Carlingford and one between Smithborough and Middletown, as well as some environmental projects and a linkage programme for some 1,400 small businesses across the border counties. “I have written to the Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard, Agriculture and Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen and Economy Minister Simon Hamilton at Stormont as well as their counterparts Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Enterprise), Simon Coveney (Community and Local Government), Shane Ross (Transport, Tourism and Sport) as well as Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe to press for their urgent approvals for the different projects which their Departments are involved in. McNulty added, “€43.4million is a lot of money. These projects can deliver real benefits for this region and they cannot be held up by government red tape. These need to be approved at Ministerial level and signed up prior to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement if they are to go ahead. We cannot allow these projects or this funding to be lost to this region.”

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