Bairbre de Brun has re-emerged to front Sinn Fein’s new demand, a £10 billion peace package.
The abortive Comprehensive Agreement had included a special package on the detested water charges but Sinn Fein now want any cash injection to go on All-Ireland strategies particularly in the “border corridor”. The package is to come from the government and the Irish government. How much each pays is unclear as is how they arrived at the figure of £10 billion (do I hear £11 bn anyone?) but Sinn Fein believe it can be found from security savings.
Is the answer to a massive over dependency on public expenditure in Northern Ireland really to increase it over the next ten years? With frustration about police responsiveness already growing are cuts in the police budget a credible option? How much are Republic of Ireland taxpayers expected to pick up? Is Sinn Fein unaware of the UK budget crunch over the next five years? As Bairbre de Brun has been brought back from her Brussels exile to front the proposal, is it a sign it need not be taken too seriously? With newspaper claims that Sinn Fein is trying to control job allocations in the community sector is this to keep border republicans sweet? Will Sinn Fein use any RoI rejection as an electoral ploy in the southern border counties?
As they say on the West Wing, “A billion here. A billlion there. Soon it starts to add up to real money”.