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Muir calls for urgent action by Infrastructure Minister to secure finances of key public services

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has called on the Infrastructure Minister to urgently attend a meeting of the Assembly Infrastructure Committee to outline her plans to secure the future of key public services such as NI Water and Translink.

Mr Muir made the call after the Minister recently wrote to the Committee detailing the impact upon the organisations following the recent Monitoring Round, where many of the Department’s funding bids were unsuccessful. In the allocations, Translink and DVA received nothing and NI Water £1.5million, after bidding for £19.7million.

“As the world gathers at COP26 to take decisions on how to tackle the climate crisis, it is staggering in Northern Ireland concerns are now emerging about the ability to provide safe drinking water and possible pollution if sewage cannot be safely treated,” said the North Down MLA.

“We cannot talk on one hand about striving to achieve a net zero future and debate the year we want to deliver it by, and then starve key organisations charged with delivering a clean, green future from vital funds to the extent that it could potentially impact upon their very viability.

“It is also incredibly worrying to hear, due to lack of funding for NI Water, the Minister is now unable to rule out a loss of service, for example in supply restrictions, interruptions, and possibly drinking water quality at the tap.

“I hope the Minister takes up my calls and swiftly attends the Committee to answer many key questions arising from this news, including whether she will finally face up to difficult decisions concerning the governance and funding model for NI Water. We can no longer afford to kick the can down the road and must actively be now exploring mutualisation”.