£1m pledged to fix Northern Ireland's broken street lights
An extra £1 million is being made available to fix a backlog of broken street lights, Northern Ireland's Transport Minister has revealed.
Michelle McIlveen said the money had been included in a pot of £24 million allocated to the cash-strapped Department of Regional Development (DRD) as part of the November monitoring round.
Ms McIlveen said: "This additional funding from the Northern Ireland Executive is very good news for the public and for wider employment in the sector.
"It is clear that the rising number of broken street lights and potholes has been a real cause of concern."
More than 7,000 street lights have been reported as faulty, but the minister said the real figure is expected to be even higher.
The DUP MLA added: " Broken street lights are a major cause of concern for the public, particularly during the dark winter nights.
"We have now ramped up the service and Transport NI is working with external contractors to carry out repairs and clear the backlog which is expected to take a number of months."
Ms McIlveen assumed the DRD portfolio following the resignation of the Ulster Unionist Party's Danny Kennedy in the wake of a political fallout sparked by the IRA-linked murder of a man in August.
Last year thousands of street lights were not repaired because of budget cuts.
Mr Kennedy had repeatedly warned that public safety was being put at risk.
Ms McIlveen said a new online system has been set up to allow members of the public to report faults.