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York Street Interchange Project

Part of Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 15th November 2016

As I just outlined to the previous Member, I have a number of competing priorities with the four Executive flagship projects. Last week, we saw the launch of the consultation on the Belfast transport hub. I will go to mid-Ulster tomorrow, where top of the agenda will, no doubt, be the Cookstown bypass and progression of the A5 and the A6. Everybody inside the Chamber will have different priorities. I have no doubt the Member would love to raise the possibility of a Sprucefield bypass with the Chancellor if she had the opportunity. We all have competing priorities. Certainly, as a Department, we now have to put in place a programme of works that meets the needs of the economy but does so in a regionally balanced way so that, whenever I say that I will address the infrastructure deficit, particularly in the west, I mean what I say. Projects such as the A5 and A6 maintain priority with me, as does the Belfast hub and BRT, but that is not to suggest that we will not have any money at all for other projects. Of course, I want to be in a position to deliver the likes of the York Street interchange.

I know that other Members have suggested — you are hinting at and alluding to this — that Belfast is somehow being neglected all of a sudden and that this priority in the west is taking over, which, again, is not true. I will spend more money in Belfast than in any other town, city or village in the years ahead. Belfast sits primed to receive money for BRT, the Belfast hub, investment in water infrastructure — whatever it may be. Let Members be assured that we will not forget Belfast in the years ahead.