The Agreement reached by the DUP and Sinn Fein, with the expected approval of the lesser parties in the Executive, is yet again a case of the Stormont Executive not being prepared to make hard financial decisions.
This agreement is nothing more than a begging-bowl exercise in the hope that Prime Minister David Cameron and the British Government will hand out another £2 billion to keep this sinking ship afloat.
In times of austerity, when the rest of the United Kingdom has had to make cuts and take difficult decisions to curb spending and avoid borrowing and running up the national debt, why should Northern Ireland be any different?
This £2 billion will have to be paid back over a 10-year period, and the decisions the Executive are refusing to face up to now will have to be tackled at a later stage.
To make matters worse, we have the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness coming out and saying that Northern Ireland is different because our region has come out of conflict and because of this it is in greater need of extra finances.
The conflict Martin McGuinness refers to wouldn’t have taken place if the IRA had accepted the democratic process and not have created 30 years of terrorism and destruction in Northern Ireland, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and billions of pounds of revenue to rebuild city centres blown to pieces by IRA bombs.
No financial package or price can ever be put at the tragic loss of lives by IRA terrorism and our local papers, even at this Christmas period, still have memorials placed in them every week by family members remembering their loved ones murdered by the IRA.
The British Exchequer should total up all the costs to the Treasury for the 30-year conflict which Martin McGuinness refers to for all the damage caused by IRA bombs (the Canary Wharf bomb alone cost in the region of £1 billion), the compensation claims, the cost of policing and security, the cost to the Health Service, the judicial service , the loss of revenue from companies who would have invested here and the loss of revenue from tourism.
The list could go on and on to include bank robberies, racketeering, counterfeit goods, money and fuel laundering. When the total cost of this loss of money to the British Exchequer is counted up, it should be made public and presented to Sinn Fein, and they should be given the opportunity to pay this before they come crying for more public money to prop up Stormont.