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Scrapping NIO could release millions

21 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O'Dowd has said that scrapping the NIO could release millions for use by the local Executive to invest in infrastructure and improve frontline public services.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The most recent available figures for NIO and MoD expenditure in the north are £1,025 million and £682 million.

"The return of the local institutions, progress on demilitarisation and the transfer of Policing and Justice powers would suggest a huge potential to release a substantial proportion of that £1.7 billion back into the local Executive to invest in our infrastructure and improve frontline public services.

"The reality is that much of the opposition to political progress has been directed by the spooks and spies operating from within the NIO. These are clearly people with a vested interest in blocking political progress because they recognise that as we move forward that their jobs will become superfluous.

"Further progress on the transfer of policing and justice powers to locally accountable ministers will further strip away the need to maintain the NIO.

"The question must be asked; why are we spending these millions on the NIO and MoD when they are doing less and less and at a time when there are pressures on the Executive Budget to find money for health, education, housing, infrastructure and the economy." ENDS

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