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Slieve Gullion Councillor, Pete Byrne has sought assurances over the Belfast Regional City Deal Heads of Terms Agreement stating that the UK government should not be given room to water down its commitment to the deal in the future because of wording within the legal document.

Byrne said, “At last week’s Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee we were presented with a legal document which would allow the Regional City Deal to move to the next phase of the process. This document is incredibly important for the Newry Mourne and Down District as the investment will allow projects like the Southern Relief Road, Newry City Regeneration and Mournes Gateway to be realised in the years ahead.”

The location for the proposed Southern Relief Road which is one of the City Deal projects. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The location for the proposed Southern Relief Road which is one of the City Deal projects. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

“However, I was extremely concerned that the document consistently states that the UK government will pay ‘up to £350 million’ whereas local government will definitively pay £350 million. I believe this particular wording would be open to interpretation by any future UK government and allows the possibility for Westminster to water down their commitment to match funding.”

“Given the level of distrust in Westminster to deliver for people here, I felt it was appropriate for Council officials to go back to the UK Treasury to seek assurances that the £350 million commitment was definitive, in the same way money committed by Universities, Local Councils and the Northern Ireland Executive is definitive. A change to the wording of the document is the only way to ensure that the UK government are not able to renege on their commitment in the future.”

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