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Sinn Féin Furious at Paul Boateng

10 February, 2004

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has reacted angrily to comments made by British Treasury Minister Paul Boateng.

Mr Molloy said:

"We are now seeing the real cost of direct rule.

"It is a total disgrace that Paul Boateng should refuse to take on board the legitimate concerns across the political spectrum about the way the budget allocations are worked out for the Six Counties.

"Joel Barnett, himself, has dismissed the formula as lacking in substance. For Paul Boateng to suggest he believes the Barnett formula and the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative have served us well would create the suspicion that he does not have a clue what he is talking about.

"Sinn Fein will be seeking an urgent meeting with Ian Pearson to discuss clear commitments made in the Programme for government about the Barnett formula." ENDS

Note to Editors

Paul Boateng has caused a storm of controversy during his visit to Belfast when he insisted the British government Reform and Reinvestment Initiative brokered with the Stormont Executive during devolution was good for Northern Ireland. Mr Boateng also gave his backing to the Barnett Formula, which determined the amount of Treasury funds, which go to Northern Ireland. Mr Boateng insisted that 'It has worked well over the years and continues to deliver.'

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