SDLP MLA Challenges Civil Service Funding For Belfast

The SDLP has challenged the Head of Northern Ireland's Civil Service David Sterling on funding decisions, following his announcement last week of a £1million assistance package for businesses affected by the Primark fire.

MLA's for both Foyle and West Tyrone have questioned why the same rationale was not applied to those devastated by flooding last August.

Mark Durkan, who represents the Foyle constituency, welcomed the recent Belfast funding package, but said the lack of emergency provision for L'Derry was "disheartening to say the least".

"The SDLP fervently appealed for help and funding for those affected, including farmers who had lost their livelihoods," he said.
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"At that time we urged Mr Sterling to extend the Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme to local businesses and community organisations and to explore what other help could be provided."

Mr Durkan accused the Civil Service of dismissing the proposal due to the absence of ministerial discretion.

"Let me be clear, we welcome efforts to assist businesses in Belfast but this does little to allay the perception that citizens in our constituencies have not received equal treatment or that their plight did not warrant similar focus or consideration in their time of need.

"I hope Mr Sterling can explain this reasoning and clarify how the Civil Service determine whom or where assistance can and cannot be provided."


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