Jim Allister says Colum Eastwood 'in dreamland' over EU funding for Northern Ireland
The SDLP said Mr Allister's analysis was "tainted by his Brexit fanaticism".
Jim Allister has hit out at claims by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood that the EU sent €500m a year to Northern Ireland in peace process funding.
Mr Eastwood, who is standing in the upcoming European Elections, unveiled his "anti-Brexit battle bus" on Wednesday which highlighted the amount of money the EU sends to Northern Ireland in funding for the peace process and other initiatives.
The SDLP leader unveiled the bus on the Irish border near Londonderry in a bid to "debunk" the claims of Brexiteers before the referendum.
Mr Allister, who is also standing in the EU elections, said: “Two realities bring Colum Eastwood’s exaggerated claim of €500m pa from the EU to Northern Ireland up short.
"It’s all our own money in the first place, which is recycled from Brussels after the UK pays it in as one of its top bankrollers.
"It does not even equate to NI’s pro rata share of the UK contribution. (3% of £20B = £600M)
"It is as nothing compared to the UK contribution to this part of the United Kingdom, yet Mr Eastwood’s primary policy is to end the British link and thereby stop the block grant. Good luck then Mr Eastwood in surviving on what you think is Brussels’ £500M
“So, if Colum Eastwood thinks recycling a modest pot of our own money is preferable to the largesse of the U.K., then, he’s even less grounded than I thought.”
An SDLP spokesman said Mr Allister's analysis was "tainted by his Brexit fanaticism" and that his "maths don't add up".
"From 2014-2020, the EU co-funded £3.55 billion of projects in Northern Ireland," the spokesman added.
"That amounts to over £500m as a base benefit. This does not include additional competitive bidding funding through Framework Project 7, its successor Horizon 2020 or benefits from the Barosso Task Force.
"Colum Eastwood will continue to debunk the Brexiteer myths throughout this campaign. The lies that formed the basis of the leave campaign will be rooted out."
Belfast Telegraph Digital