Belfast gets funding boost to kick-start devolved government

Other News Materials 21 November 2008 00:35 (UTC +04:00)

The regional government of Northern Ireland said Thursday that it had been given a financial boost of 900 million pounds (1.4 billion dollars) by the government in London to help kick-start devolved government after five months of political stalemate, dpa reported.

Announcement of the aid package coincided with the resumption of "normal government" in Northern Ireland, where the power-sharing Executive (cabinet) met for the first time since June on Thursday.

The deal had been hammered out in talks in London the previous day with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and senior ministers, politicians in the province confirmed.

The money would be used to help offset the impact of the credit crunch, such as handing out payments to citizens to help alleviate fuel and energy costs.

Peter Robinson, the Protestant First Minister and leader of the regional government, said the extra funding from London would help to take pressure of the province's finances "as we move onto the next stage of the credit crunch."

On Tuesday, Robinson and his deputy, Martin McGuinness of the nationalist party Sinn Fein, announced the end of a five-month political stalemate in by resolving their differences over the sensitive issue of policing and justice powers.