Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein vows to fight for extra £1.5bn from Westminster

By Adrian Rutherford

Sinn Fein has said it will seek an extra £1.5bn for Northern Ireland in negotiations with the next Westminster government.

Pledging to resist the "disastrous agenda of Tory austerity", the party said it would fight for cash to invest in public services and economic growth.

It said the £1.5bn it is seeking was effectively a reversal of the spending power stripped from Stormont since 2010.

Launching its manifesto yesterday, Sinn Fein vowed to "return economic powers for a fair recovery".

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "It is our pledge to defend the most vulnerable, protect public services, deliver a new way, a better way forward for this society."

The plans set out in the manifesto include:

  • Prioritising job creation, foreign direct investment and support for small and medium enterprises;
  • Fully implementing the welfare protection in the Stormont House Agreement;
  • Ending the "scourge of poverty";
  • Offering affordable child care capped at a cost of 15% of income;
  • Passing an Irish Language Act;
  • Obtaining a border poll on Irish unity.

The launch in Dungannon was chaired by the area's MP Michelle Gildernew, who is defending Fermanagh/South Tyrone, the most marginal seat in the UK.

Mr McGuinness added: "Following this election we will be seeking an immediate negotiation with the incoming British government to secure a budget to deliver public services, return economic powers to promote growth, jobs and prosperity and to protect those most in need."

The party has also supported a binding vote in Northern Ireland alone on EU membership if the rest of the UK decides for exit.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on EU membership by 2017 if the Conservatives are re-elected.

Party president Gerry Adams claimed decisions in England should not be decisive for the lives of people in Fermanagh and Tyrone.

"A decision made in Sussex or wherever should not be binding on the people who live in Tyrone or Fermanagh or any other part of the Six Counties, or indeed the effect that this would have on the 32 counties as well, so it is up to the Irish Government to argue that," he said.

Mr McGuinness also dismissed predictions that Northern Ireland MPs could play a role in the formation of the next government.

He said claims to the contrary were "misleading".

Belfast Telegraph


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