£2bn loan deal for Northern Ireland branded 'a Third World bailout'
The £2bn package of cash and loans secured as part of the Stormont House Agreement looks "like a Third World bailout", an MLA has said.
Ukip's David McNarry hit out after a pre-Christmas deal was struck following negotiations to resolve issues threatening to tear the Assembly apart. Stormont will get £2bn in spending power in return for implementing welfare system reforms, agreeing a balanced budget for the next financial year and public sector restructuring, which could see 20,000 Civil Service redundancies.
But Mr McNarry hit out: "If they couldn't even handle the block grant and budget, why would anyone have confidence in their ability to handle £2 billion of loans?
"This deal is worse than a second mortgage piled on top of the block grant, which is already being abused and mismanaged by the Executive. It is like a Third World bailout with massive repercussions which will last well beyond the 10-year time frame."
TUV leader Jim Allister warned the deal would mean a greater role for Dublin in Northern Ireland's "internal affairs" at meetings to review progress on the deal.
"Not only was the Dublin Foreign Minister (Charlie Flanagan) a host of the talks, but he is to have an ongoing role as an equal convener of meetings to oversee implementation of the Agreement," Mr Allister said.