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Muir disappointed by road safety grant rejections

Alliance Finance and Infrastructure spokesperson, Andrew Muir MLA, has said he’s disappointing that more than three-quarters of applications submitted by community groups for the Department for Infrastructure’s Road Safety Grant Scheme had been rejected.

Mr Muir was speaking after he received confirmation from the Department that of the 61 applications submitted, 47 were rejected. A written question to the Minister from Mr Muir further found that 28 applications were rejected because their proposals included the purchasing of equipment that was not covered by the type of funding offered by the Department for Infrastructure.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced the £100,000 grant scheme on the 3rd of September, designed to encourage individuals and community groups to develop and deliver local road safety initiatives.

Mr Muir said “It is disappointing that community groups up and down the country proposed viable schemes that were only turned down because they involved a type of spending that didn’t fit the department’s criteria.

“Every year the Northern Ireland Executive struggles to spend its capital budget, and often hands back money to the Treasury. The Minister should consider bidding for additional capital funding in January, so that she can provide money to these schemes that will notably improve road safety in local areas across Northern Ireland.

“Every year dozens of lives are lost on Northern Ireland’s roads. When local organisations bring forward ideas to improve road safety, every effort should be made to support them. To turn schemes down because the funding they require doesn’t meet the department’s criteria is an example of the short-term approach taken to roads and road-safety in Northern Ireland for far too long.”