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SDLP calls for Irish Government to have consultative role in North’s budget |

The SDLP said the Irish Government should have a consultative role in formulating the budget for Northern Ireland in the continued absence of a functioning Stormont Assembly.

The party’s two MPs, Claire Hanna and leader Colum Eastwood, have tabled an amendment to the Budget Bill which would mandate the UK government to engage with the Irish Government on the terms of financial settlements.

The NI Budget Bill, introduced by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, will be debated by MPs when the House of Commons returns from summer recess.

The Stormont Assembly remains dormant as the DUP seeks further assurances from the UK government about post-Brexit political and trading arrangements following the signing of the Windsor Framework.


Mr Eastwood said the spirit of power-sharing “must be facilitated through enhanced co-operation” between the British and Irish governments.

He said: “For 19 months people have been waiting for the DUP to get back to work. We were told to wait until after the local government elections, then until after the summer and then to autumn.

“Autumn has arrived and still we are without a local devolved government.

“Meanwhile this Tory budget will have a devastating effect on people here as a result of the brutal cuts to public services.

“The DUP can’t be allowed to call the shots anymore. They need to understand that power-sharing will endure whether they like it or not and whether they take part or not.

“In the absence of an Executive, the spirit of the agreement must be facilitated by enhanced co-operation between the British and Irish governments.”

Chloe Mitchell missing
SDLP deputy leader Claire Hanna said fiscal issues should be approached on an all-island basis. Photo: PA

Ms Hanna said: “This is a short-term reactionary budget; it will deliver hardship now and stores up more of the same for the future by failing to tackle issues around the transformation of services.

“We must also be cautious of the false economy of penny pinching today only to have to pay a bigger price down the road. Urgent reform of services cannot be put off.

“We need a new approach, new thinking to create solutions to these problems and it would be prudent to approach some of these on an all-island basis.”

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