Concerns new Northern Ireland deal will not benefit both sides

Concerns new Northern Ireland deal will not benefit both sides

Concerns have been expressed that a deal which will see the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) back the Tory minority government in Britain will not benefit both sides of the community in the North.

The deal, announced on Monday, two weeks after the UK election resulted in a hung parliament, will see the 10 DUP MPs support the Tories in exchange for £1bn extra funding for infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland over the next two years.

As part of the deal, the military covenant, which gives better treatment to former members of the armed forces, will be implemented in full in Northern Ireland, a move criticised by Sinn Féin.

Fr Gary Donegan CP, former parish priest in Belfast’s Ardoyne area, who continues to take part in talks around parading disputes, said this year’s talks about the Twelfth had been stalled by the negotiations between Arlene Foster and Theresa May, and he hoped “with the deal being done there is possibly a better chance of movement”.

“Things were moving until the election was called,” he said. “Up until now all eyes were on Westminster and now people can concentrate on this.”


However, Fr Donegan said there were concerns over whether the funding received through the newdeal will be used to benefit one community over the other. “That’s always been the issue. It is in the hands of the DUP,” he said.

Fr Donegan said that as the DUP have already negotiated a better deal for former soldiers, there may be a greater chance of funding going towards “historical enquiries to do with the legacy issue” and movement on the Irish language act.

“The big issue we don’t end up having a deal that is going to last six months and then go wallop again,” he said.