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York Street Interchange Project

Part of Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin 3:45 pm, 15th November 2016

I never once announced that the project was on hold. What I said was that the procurement process for the project had been lengthened, which allowed me to take stock of the financial and geopolitical situation that we now face. The Member will no doubt admit that we are in very uncertain political and financial times.

The Member also flagged up assurances. The first available opportunity for me to apply for European funding for the project is at some point in 2018. We are not yet sure of when that will be in 2018, but we can be sure of one thing: article 50 will be triggered long before 2018. It will probably be triggered at least a year before I can even apply for any European funds whatsoever. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund is highly competitive — member states have to fight and compete with one another to win the funds. There is nothing to suggest that we will be successful. The likelihood of the EU funding a project in a region that is in the mouth of leaving the EU through Brexit is highly unlikely. As I said, that is only 40%. I do not think that the assurances that we have received from the British Treasury stand up to that. There is also 60% that has to be found.