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DUP's gamble has put €2.9bn of cash at risk

Published 05/07/2016

The gamble the DUP took with regard to supporting Brexit puts at risk €2.9bn scheduled to be paid to Northern Ireland up to 2020. Why?

There is no guarantee that the money that was to come from Europe, post-Brexit, will come from Westminster. What is clear, however, is that once we leave the EU the allocation of resources to Northern Ireland will be exclusively controlled by the UK Government.

Sinn Fein abstains from Westminster and the DUP is currently the only party with sufficient MPs to make a difference (even if that is a marginal difference).

Direct allocation of European funding to Northern Ireland provided other political parties and the voluntary and community sector with a degree of influence and control over how resources could be spent.

Was DUP support, then, about seeking exclusive control over resources coming to Northern Ireland? If so, the other consequence will be a Northern Ireland increasingly dependent on the largesse - or otherwise - of the Westminster block grant.

In the aftermath of the referendum it is, indeed, an optimist who considers that there will be a bigger UK pie to share with the devolved administrations.

DAVE WALL OBE

Broughshane, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph

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