News | Eastwood To Press Irish and British Governments on Border Bank

Eastwood To Press Irish and British Governments on Border Bank

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA revealed that he will meet the British and Irish governments this week to present a case for the establishment of a North-South Structural Fund – a Border Bank. The Foyle MLA said he believed from previous discussions with An Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister, the governments will be interested in exploring the financial deal that could be used as an economic lever for the border areas against Brexit.

Mr Eastwood said:

“The SDLP has been working constructively with both the British and Irish Governments to find creative and immediate solutions to protect our economy in the North of Ireland.

“When I previously met with An Taoiseach and the Prime Minister, I raised the need for both governments to agree to use the Loans to Ireland funds to support the border areas north and south. Areas around the border are at particular risk because of Brexit.

“While other parties may not be interested in talks about the real pressures facing our local economy here, the SDLP knows that we need action now.

“This week I will present both governments with a plan for how some of the repayments from the Loans to Ireland from the British Treasury could instead be used to channel monies into cross-border development in sectors that will be particularly challenged by Brexit.

“Our unique proposal would be to channel some of this money into the creation of a new North-South Structural Fund, the Border Bank.

“The new Border Bank could finally help deliver City Deals and progress projects that require funding such as such as Narrow Water Bridge, the A5 and A6.

“Brexit has changed everything. The SDLP isn’t prepared to sit and wait for the DUP and Sinn Féin to get their act together.

“People in the border region are anxious and worried about their futures. After years of being let down by the failed strategies and lack of delivery from the DUP and Sinn Féin, the SDLP is not prepared to allow people here to be frozen in failure.

“There are ways to safeguard our economy and ways to drive it forward, I’ll be testing the British and Irish Governments' commitment this week. It’s time for radical change and real partnership that delivers."

Colum Eastwood MLA

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