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Close calls for peace dividend in pounds and pence

September 1, 2004 12:00 AM

ALLIANCE Finance Spokesman Seamus Close MLA has said those involved in today's talks to re-establish the political institutions must not forget that new arrangements must be supported financially.

Speaking ahead of today's talks, Mr Close stated:

"Those engaged in the negotiations about the future of Northern Ireland must ensure that financial issues, such as the size of the block grant, the Barnett formula, water charges, rates reform and so on are high on the agenda. Our remote control ministers must realise that there is a financial price to be paid in Northern Ireland.

"The under-investment suffered over many years of direct rule must be rectified. The peace dividend must be paid in pounds and pence - not in patronising phrases. If NI plc is to have a new start politically, it must have a new start financially. It would be unfair and unjust to saddle a new political dispensation with dilapidated infrastructure and mounting debt incurred because of years of neglect."

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