Lyttle says DUP’s ‘in-out’ policy a main cause of financial problems

Alliance Regional Development spokesperson Chris Lyttle has said while an extra £1 million to repair broken street lights is welcome, the DUP’s ‘in-out’ Ministerial policy helped exacerbate the situation in the first place.

East Belfast MLA Mr Lyttle was speaking in the wake of Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen announcing the money to help clear the backlog of broken lights. It is part of a £24 million package agreed in the November monitoring round that will go towards fixing other problems such as potholes.

However, Mr Lyttle said the DUP’s decision to continually resign and return to their Ministerial posts was a root cause of the problems facing the Department.

“It is welcome the Department can now get back to work doing one of the things it is supposed to do – ensure street lights work, fix potholes and other issues related to people’s safety. However, the damage has been done – literally in some cases – by the lack of a permanent Minister for weeks on end while the DUP played hokey cokey with their roles.

“Sinn Fein also has to shoulder to its share of the blame with its intransigence on welfare reform helping cause the recent crisis. Street lighting repairs in particular are 75 per cent carried out by contractors rather than the Department, therefore many have shed jobs while this posturing went on and the money was not forthcoming.

“I hope this money is put to use and quickly where it is needed the most. In the meantime, the DUP and Sinn Fein need to reflect on their actions which have helped us reach this crisis point.”

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