The Southern Relief Road project will receive additional funding from the Stormont Executive following yesterdays announcement by Finance Minister Conor Murphy of over £700m of new funding for infrastructure, regeneration, and tourism projects across the north.

The investment is the result of the Executive today agreeing to match fund £562m for City and Growth Deals and £55m for the Inclusive Future Fund. This match funding along with the British Government funding announced in May 2019 brings the total investment to £1.2bn.

The Executive has also agreed to provide up to an additional £100m for complementary projects where partners can demonstrate a viable capital project which is complementary to the City/Growth Deal proposals.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: “This investment package signals our desire to build a productive, regionally balanced and inclusive economy.

“The Executive is currently reacting to the COVID-19 emergency. We have already provided over £500m in grants and rates relief to support businesses survive the ongoing pandemic.

"We also need to plan for the longer-term. This investment of over £700m will provide investment in local areas and much needed jobs and offers hope for the future.”

The package provides at least £700m for the Belfast Region (which includes Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as well as Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim), £252m for the Mid, South & West, £210m for Derry City and Strabane and £72m for Causeway Coast and Glens.

The funding will deliver a number of potential projects including Newry Southern Relief road and a visitor destination experience at the Mourne Mountains.

Slieve Gullion, Councillor Byrne who sits on Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel believes the Deal has the potential to transform the economy in Newry, Mourne and Down driving new investment and attracting new jobs.

“I am proud of the SDLP’s record on championing City Deals for the North over the last five years. Despite the initial disinterest from the Executive, we have always maintained that these deals would have a significant impact on our ability to reimagine infrastructure, attract new jobs and stimulate economic growth.” said Cllr Byrne who added “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area is set to benefit substantively from the secured funding. This investment will allow projects like the Southern Relief Road, Newry City Regeneration and Mournes Gateway to be realised in the years ahead.

“As a representative on the City Deal panel, I been provided with great insight into the opportunities both economically and socially for the people of our district. This has been a long time coming. We have been forced to wait for far too long for the chance to build more for our people and our communities.”

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