Saturday, 13 August 2016

Treasury announcement on EU funding unacceptable – Ó Muilleoir

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said that short term assurances provided by the Chancellor around EU funding do not go far enough.

The Minister said: “Prior to the referendum, the European Union had agreed to contribute over €1.2 billion to Structural and Investment Fund programmes in the north scheduled to run between 2014 and 2020. This includes contributions to the cross border PEACE IV and INTERREG VA Programmes. The decision today not to underwrite that sum in relation to EU funds from now to 2020 is a setback to the economy and a failure by the British government to match European support for the peace process.  
“Despite the promise of the British Prime Minister to act in the interests of all, there has been no attempt to consult with myself, the Executive or the Irish Government, about the best way forward in relation to European funds.

“While the decision to honour letters of offer issued up to November will help some applicants for EU funds, it will leave a question mark over scores of other vital projects and means potentially up to £300m of future funding is in peril.

“I have discussed this issue with the Chancellor and with my counterparts in Scotland and Wales, calling on the British Government to give a commitment that devolved administrations would not lose a penny of EU related funding streams. I have also written to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy with Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and reiterated the joint support of the Executive and the Irish Government for our cross border PEACE and INTERREG programmes.”

The Minister continued: “Rather than providing the certainty needed following the EU referendum this short-sighted decision could deepen the economic blow. It is clear the Executive needs to be front and centre in decisions around Europe and in all negotiations on these crucially important issues."

Notes to Editors:

1. Sign up to receive the weekly Minister’s News, featuring latest updates from Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Finance Minister at

2. Follow the Department of Finance on Twitter @dptFinance and like the Facebook page at

3. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or Tel: 028 9081 6895. Out of Office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Double World Champion Frampton receives rapturous home coming reception in Belfast

First Minister, Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Sports Minister Paul Givan, and Lord Mayor Alderman Brian Kingston today hosted a homecoming for boxer Carl Frampton.

The event took place in the grounds of Belfast City Hall and was attended by thousands of the Jackal’s loyal fans.

First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “Tonight is a proud night not just for Belfast but for all the people of Northern Ireland.

“Carl Frampton has brought immense excitement and joy to the boxing and sporting world but also to non sports fans.

“I am incredibly proud of Carl Frampton for his boxing achievements but also the manner in which he conducts himself making him a superb ambassador for Northern Ireland.

“Carl Frampton is a world star but he hasn’t forgotten his roots and it is only right and proper that his many fans and supporters were given the opportunity to congratulate him in Belfast on his latest victory.

“I wish Carl Frampton every success for the future.”

The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “It was an honour and a privilege to congratulate double world champion Carl Frampton tonight in Belfast.

“Tonight is an important night for the people of Belfast and beyond as it gives them the chance to congratulate Carl Frampton in person. The rapturous reception Carl received tonight reflects the regard in which Carl is held by his many supporters.

“Carl’s latest victory has made him one of the finest boxers in his generation and I wish Carl, Shane and Barry McGuigan every success in the next chapter of this sporting fairytale.”

Sports Minister, Paul Givan said: “The vast crowd which gathered at the City Hall is testament to the impact that Carl Frampton has on the people of Northern Ireland. “It was important to host this event at City Hall to allow Carl’s many fans to show their support to him and they did him proud tonight. 

“Carl’s win over Leo Santa Cruz on 30 July in New York was truly inspirational and Northern Ireland now has a double world champion at super bantamweight and featherweight. These achievements are exceptional and demonstrate the commitment and hard work that Carl has put into his sport.  It is also important to recognise the significant role played by Carl’s wife, family, friends and the team at Cyclone Promotions, particularly Barry and Shane McGuigan and the support they have provided Carl on this fantastic journey. 

“Carl continues to inspire so many of our young men and women to get involved in boxing and sport in general.  Boxing has always been an important sport in Northern Ireland and there is no doubt that it brings so many benefits to individuals such as good health and self discipline. I am committed to continuing to support the development of boxing across all communities in Northern Ireland in whatever way I can.

“I would like to once again say congratulations to Carl and I look forward to following his career and successes in the future.”

The Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “It is great to see our city coming together tribute to a fantastic sportsman who is a role model not just for boxing but for sport in general and what it can contribute in life skills and opportunity.

“Carl is hard working, determined and focused, and a first-class ambassador for Belfast – he never forgets where he comes from and often pays tribute to it and its people. This evening is giving the people of Belfast the opportunity to pay their own well-deserved tribute to him – an extraordinary champion and an even more extraordinary man who has his roots firmly planted at home.

“Congratulations to Carl, his family and his support team – you have made everyone so proud and now we are showing how proud we are of you,” added the Lord Mayor.

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Hazzard announces immediate review of taxi legislation

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has announced that a full and comprehensive review of the current taxi legislation is set to get underway.

The Minister took the opportunity to make the announcement at his first meeting with representatives of the recently formed Northern Ireland Taxis (NIT) group.

Minister Chris Hazzard said: “Much work has already been carried out to help build a safe and professional taxi industry that benefits the hundreds of operators, drivers and administrative staff who work in the industry and to the hundreds of thousands of people who use taxis regularly.

“There are still many challenges ahead, however, I am determined to support and grow the industry through legislation that protects the industry itself and its customers.

“Metering remains a central plank of how taxis will be regulated in the future and current requirements remain in place.”  

The Minister is aware of concerns around licensing classifications for taxis and reiterated that Class C is intended for use by, for example wedding, funeral and novelty vehicles and not as a general taxi class. He made it clear that he will be moving promptly to resolve the matter.

The Minister continued: “To help inform and develop this work I have asked officials to establish a Taxi Advisory Group as soon as possible.”

The review will take into account the views of local operators and drivers, as well as those of the general public and other key stakeholders. New proposals are expected to be brought forward for public consultation in spring next year.

 Notes to Editors:

1.     The Taxis Act (NI) 2008 set out legislative changes to how the taxi Industry in the North will operate. Major changes included:
·  Four new classes of Taxi Licence,  A, B, C, and D to replace the existing PSV licence categories
·  a better service for people with disabilities;
· Class A and B taxis will need a new roof sign, taximeters and printers;
· Class C taxis are not permitted to display a roofsign or advertise and are not required to have a meter or printer;
· Class D relates to taxi buses which operate under a road service permit and
·  a new style taxi driver test

2. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
3. See photos from the Department for Infrastructure in our Flickr collection: