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Finance Minister Conor Murphy has allocated a budget of £3 million for winter services, urgent street lighting and road repairs to the Department for Infrastructure, in a move that has been welcomed by party colleague, MLA Cathal Boylan, Cllr Michael Savage and Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon.

A total of £18 million was allocated by the minister which followed late changes made to the NI Budget by the Treasury. 

£10 million was also allocated to address pressures within the education sector and £5 million for doctor and dentist pay and health pressures.

Mr Boylan said “It’s welcome that the Finance Minister has allocated £3 million to the Department for Infrastructure for services to deal with winter conditions.

“This means additional funding for road gritting and streetlight repairs which should greatly improve the safety of our roads during peak times of bad weather.

Additional money has been set aside for winter services including gritting. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Additional money has been set aside by Finance Minister, Conor Murphy for winter services including gritting. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

“People are frustrated by the limited levels of gritting and streetlight. This additional money should go some way towards alleviating that frustration.

“I have written to the Minister for Infrastructure for clarity on how she intends to use this extra funding and if the winter gritting schedule can now be expanded.

“I commend the Finance Minister Conor Murphy on providing the vital funding required to ensure our roads are safer at a time when they are at their most dangerous.”

Cllr Michael Savage said “The Infrastructure Ministry has thrown up many challenges in the few short weeks since the Executive was reformed and that is largely down to a previous lack of investment with no government taking decisions for the last three years.

“Minister Nichola Mallon has hit the ground running and is tackling each issue head on. Securing £3million to help tackle the backlog of broken lights and potholes is a positive and welcome step.

“The challenge going forward is for the Department of Finance to provide the funding needed to tackle our infrastructure problems that have been neglected due to three years of no government and underfunding."

Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon added “I am delighted that the Department of Finance has listened to my representations regarding the urgent need to fix our broken street lights and potholes and to ensure our roads are salted during cold weather.

"After three years without a government the people of Northern Ireland deserve delivery. These are the daily issues that matter in homes across Northern Ireland as people go about their lives. Services like these are vital to ensure communities feel safe and connected and are also a factor when people are choosing how and when they travel. This additional funding is much needed and I have asked officials to work now to get the lights back on and our road surfaces improved."

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