Farry – Ministers must stop playing games with Northern Ireland’s financial future

Speaking after the Executive Meeting on Thursday, Alliance Minister Stephen Farry said: “In July we warned that due to a combination of long-term mismanagement and short-term stupidity, Northern Ireland was facing the biggest financial crisis in living memory. Decisions that needed to be taken then were put off, and have come back to haunt us. Those pressures are today even more acute. Yet still, two months on, there is a refusal by Sinn Fein to face up to the responsibilities that the electorate have given to the Executive. This is more than just an issue around welfare reform; it is about the fundamental duty of ministers to collectively balance our books.

“This immediate pressure relates to the in-year budget position. Every day that the Executive delays critical financial decisions, we reduce the timeframe in which decisions can be implemented. This in effect adds another £1million to the cuts that will need to be made this year. Every day the choices become fewer. Every day, the inevitable impact on the public becomes worse. It is time for Ministers to face up to their responsibilities, to do the job they were elected to do, and to stop playing games with Northern Ireland’s financial future.

“At the Executive meeting we repeated our call for Ministers to sit down and hammer out a way forward. We suggested that we meet on Thursday evening, or that we clear our diaries and meet on Friday. But our proposal was refused.”


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