Farry welcomes extra money but says it is vital deal does not become a missed opportunity

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry has said while additional money for Northern Ireland must be welcomed, it is important the DUP-Conservative deal does not become a missed opportunity.

Dr Farry was speaking after the pact between the two parties was signed. It will see the DUP support Theresa May’s minority Government in return for a range of agreements in relation to Northern Ireland.

However, the North Down MLA said there needed to be caution expressed around the contents of the deal.

“Any additional resources for Northern Ireland must be welcomed, particularly in the short-term. But while we must be mindful of the detail and implications of what has been made public today, we must also be vigilant around any side deals which may have also been struck.

“Any extra money cannot be simply used to plug the financial gaps we have. Instead this windfall must be used to drive reform of public services to make them more sustainable. However, the mention of previously agreed funding for shared education and housing to be dispersed flexibly is not a good sign.

“In terms of our economy, it must be recognised the single biggest economic difficulty facing Northern Ireland is uncertainty over our future relationship with the EU. In particular, our doubtful future participation in both the customs union and single market means commitments around corporation tax and air passenger duty can only have a limited benefit unless the deeper issue is satisfactorily resolved.

“The deal makes clear there will be ongoing ‘co-ordination’ meetings between the DUP and Conservatives. That does raise inevitable political implications, especially as the DUP are committed to delivering the narrow Tory version of Brexit. That will now make the obtainment of a special deal for Northern Ireland more difficult.”

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