Northern Ireland

Boris Johnson announces £300m growth deals funding

Boris Johnson Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Boris Johnson is expected to announce £300m in extra funding for economic growth deals in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is set to benefit from £300m in extra funding for economic growth deals, in plans announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson confirmed the funding during a visit to Scotland on Monday.

Downing Street has also said the prime minister is planning to visit Northern Ireland on a date yet to be confirmed.

Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since the collapse of the power-sharing institutions in 2017.

Mr Johnson's visit will be to "discuss ongoing talks to restore the executive" in

The £300m growth deals funding will be shared across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is not yet known how much NI will get.

The government said the Northern Ireland funding would be to support growth deals in "mid south west Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens" and also to complete a deal for Londonderry and the north west.

Image caption Securing city deal status is part of Derry City and Strabane District Council's long term economic strategy

Belfast City Deal, which proposes to invest £350m into Belfast and six surrounding council areas, has already been agreed.

Analysis: New PM's tour bringing cheer via cash

by Enda McClafferty, BBC News NI political correspondent

Boris Johnson is on a mission to lift the mood of the country and as part of that plan he is bringing a pot of money around the devolved regions.

It includes a share of £300m to stimulate new investment in regions such as Causeway Coast and Glens and the south-west of Northern Ireland, where projects have been earmarked for funding.

As part of his tour of the union, which begins today in Scotland, Boris Johnson will at some stage travel to Northern Ireland to get the latest on the talks aimed at restoring devolution.

That process will continue later on Monday, as the new Secretary of State Julian Smith holds talks with all the political parties at Stormont.

Ahead of his visit to Scotland, Mr Johnson said "it is vital we renew the ties that bind our United Kingdom" and that the growth deals would "open up opportunities".

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said he was looking forward to "building on the success we have had agreeing a city deal for Belfast and the progress we have made on a deal for Derry-Londonderry".

'Discourteous'

Meanwhile Sinn Féin Deputy President Michelle O'Neill has accused Boris Johnson of being "highly discourteous" for not engaging with the Irish government since taking up the office of prime minister.

She raised her concerns with the Secretary of State Julian Smith during a meeting at Stormont on Monday.

But she said Mr Smith failed to provide any explanation for the lack of contact between London and Dublin.

She said given the "jeopardy" of Brexit she would have expected some level of engagement.

The Secretary of State is holding a series of meetings with all the political parties as efforts continue to restore the institutions.

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