Belfast Telegraph

Projects worth £2bn left in limbo following Stormont collapse

The powersharing government in Northern Ireland has been suspended for almost two years (Niall Carson/PA)
The powersharing government in Northern Ireland has been suspended for almost two years (Niall Carson/PA)

The chair of Northern Ireland's Institute of Directors (IOD) has said that £2bn worth of infrastructure projects have stalled due to the collapse of Stormont.

Gordon Milligan told the BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business programme that projects including the North-South electricity interconnector, Casement Park, the Belfast Transport Hub, and a new power station in Belfast were all being held up due to a lack of ministers.

Mr Milligan said the impasse was “increasingly having an impact”.

“There is at least £2bn worth of infrastructure projects in the system either waiting approval, planning permission etc," he said.

Stormont collapsed in January 2017 when the late deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned his position due to the RHI scandal and equality issues.

Subsequent attempts to get the institutions up and running again have failed over a number of red line issues including an Irish language act, a deal appeared close in February, but collapsed at the last minute. 

The NI Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act has been introduced by Secretary of State Karen Bradley to allow senior civil servants to make decisions in the absence of Ministers.

Mr Milligan said that he believed that civil servants were doing a good job in the absence of ministers.

"We're missing ministers taking those decisions and that is holding the economy back - there's no doubt about that. It's holding back growth in the economy, it's holding job creation back," he told the BBC.

"I also think the permanent secretaries and the senior civil servants have been doing an incredible job, a very positive job for Northern Ireland in the absence of an Assembly.

"I think increasingly we are missing ministers to take those key decisions."

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