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Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to reveal where axe will fall

By Rebecca Black

Fewer hospitals, more potholes, major festivals cut, fewer police officers and less university courses - this is what the biggest round of cuts since devolution looks like.

On Monday, Finance Minister Simon Hamilton will unveil the full extent of how Stormont plans to make almost £1bn of cuts.

Some of the horror in store has already started to leak out before the floodgates are opened on Monday.

Yesterday it emerged that a charitable trust focused on the cross-community promotion of the Irish language is to close because of funding cuts.

Ultach will shut its Belfast office later with four redundancies, after funding cuts by all-island Irish language body Foras na Gaeilge.

The biggest loser in Stormont is the Department of the Environment, losing £14.8m of its funding.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency falls under its remit and already there is talk of reducing opening hours at some of our most beloved visitor attractions such as Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, Crawfordsburn Country Park and the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre.

A big winner in the budget is the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, but even here things are tough with the scrapping of the Tourism Events Fund.

This enables major events such as Belfast Mela, the Oyster Festival in Hillsborough, the Northern Ireland Air Show, Belfast Festival of Fools and Disability Pride to name but a few.

The future of many of these events is now in doubt.

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