Sectarian objections to Dublin’s cash offer
Sectarian objections to Dublin’s cash offer


Unionists have been protesting an announcement by the Dublin government of funding for projects in the north of Ireland, with DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson insisting money for infrastructure plans should come from the London government.

For decades, the north of Ireland has relied on money from London for its existence, but decades of partition has still damaged the economies of both parts of Ireland, particularly in the northwest.

Long-awaited commitments by Dublin to a cross-island dual carriageway and the redevelopment of a key sports stadium have finally been included as part of an 800 million euro package intended to benefit the entire island.

Donaldson said: “Whilst we welcome support from the Irish Government for genuine cross-border projects that demonstrate mutual benefit to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it is not the job or the responsibility of the Republic’s government to provide financial support for the provision of public services and general Northern Ireland infrastructure.

“That is a matter for the UK Government and must be done so in accordance with our needs base as set out in evidence provided to the UK Government.”

Unionists have long opposed development projects in nationalist areas, including the targeted upgrade of the A5 road towards Derry and the redevelopment of Casement Park, a stadium owned by the GAA Gaelic sports organisation, but which requires a major upgrade ahead of the Euro 2028 soccer tournament.

A cross-border bridge at Narrow Water, between counties Louth and Down, promised since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, has also been boosted by the funding announcement.

However, the DUP have questioned or directly opposed all of the measures in the package, particularly the support for the upgrade to the stadium at Casement Park, which is located in nationalist west Belfast.

“We cannot see how significant additional UK taxpayer resources will be available at a time when other vital public services are in need of additional resource and capital allocations,” Donaldson declared.

“It will be for the UK Government to clarify its position in the coming period.”

The unionist concerns meant the 26 County Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, was forced to deny the funding was politically motivated.

Sinn Féin Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said the Dublin support for the A5 scheme confirms “that the willingness is there to help get this road built”.

He said: “Too many lives have been cut short or forever changed by serious injury as a result of road traffic collisions on the A5 and too many families are living with the devastating consequences.”

Sinn Féin’s MP in West Belfast also welcomed the contribution towards the redevelopment of Casement Park.

“The construction of Casement Park will help to strengthen our local economy, create jobs, and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing through the power of sport,” said Paul Maskey.

“Both governments, the Executive, the GAA and Football Associations must continue working together to ensure this flagship project is delivered quickly and on time.”

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