NI Water chairman welcomes deal to restore devolved government
The chairman of Northern Ireland Water has welcomed a deal to restore a devolved government in the country and reinforced the need for investment in water infrastructure.
The deal, entitled New Decade, New Approach has been tabled at talks at Stormont House for the political parties in Northern Ireland to agree.
The British and Irish governments published the text of a draft deal on Thursday (9 January) night, following three years of political deadlock. Yesterday marked three years to the day since Stormont collapsed.
Agreement will see the full restoration of the institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement including the Executive, the Assembly and the North/South Ministerial Council with the Assembly and Executive forming on Friday (10 January).
NI Water chairman Dr Len O’Hagan CBE said: “I welcome the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ draft deal and in particular the priority both governments have placed on transforming public services - specifically, that the restored Executive will invest urgently in wastewater infrastructure which is at or nearing capacity, limiting growth in our economy.
“NI Water’s latest strategy has identified the need to invest £2.5bn to begin addressing historic underinvestment. In Belfast alone, £1bn is required to tackle wastewater, flooding and drainage problems within the ‘Living with Water Programme’. Without investment in critical water infrastructure across Northern Ireland, it will not be possible to deliver other priorities in the draft deal in areas such as housing, city deals or developing our tourism sector.
“I further welcome the commitment to “Leaner Government”. This has the potential to deliver greater efficiencies in our sector and create better value for the public purse. The pledge to multi-year funding and the news that there will be a review of Arm’s Length Bodies is also a positive step.
“NI Water stands ready to ensure that Northern Ireland can fulfil its potential to have a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future. Restoration of devolved government and political direction, if underpinned by the required levels of funding, will ensure this will happen.”
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