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T2. Mr Flanagan asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel, given that, during a TV interview on the BBC last week on the proposed exit from the European Union, he said that the surplus moneys that the British Government and others often refer to would be reinvested and retained for use in local communities, whether he has received an assurance of that nature from the British Treasury to enable him to make such a claim. (AQT 3372/11-16)
I thank the Member for his question. We are entering into an unprecedented time of debate and discussion about our future role in the European Union. My party's position on the issue of the European Union has been made very clear by the First Minister, our deputy leader and others in the party. However, we need to ensure that when a decision is ultimately made it is as an outcome of the referendum, whenever that is. Certainly, in my role as Finance Minister, I will ensure that Northern Ireland is to the fore, and kept there, in any discussions with Her Majesty's Treasury about the moneys that would come to Northern Ireland.
The Minister did quite well in not answering the question, as is the nature of some Executive Ministers. I will try again. The Minister specifically said that the moneys that are given to local communities through European funding would be retained for their use. Can the Minister confirm whether he has received an assurance from the British Treasury with regards to that claim?
The Member has now specified what he is referring to, namely European funding. The Member will know that my reference on that occasion was made at the launch of the Peace IV and INTERREG moneys. There is a commitment, whatever the outcome of the referendum, in terms of the period from 2014 to 2020. I have every confidence that those commitments will be maintained and that Northern Ireland will not lose out on the £400 million allocated under INTERREG and Peace IV.