Northern Ireland news

Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson set to visit restored Stormont

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar will travel to Belfast to meet ministers from the restored executive. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar and British prime minister Boris Johnson will travel to Belfast on Monday to meet the leaders of Stormont's freshly restored executive.

Their visit comes less than 48 hours after a special sitting of the assembly saw devolution return for the first time in three years.

The first meeting of the restored Northern Ireland Executive is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Ahead of the leaders' visit, Stormont's newly-appointed finance minister warned that cash pledged by two governments to secure last week's deal must now be delivered.

Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy said the parties had done their part by restoring power-sharing and it was time for the governments to honour their pledges on funding.

The bulk of the new funding linked to New Decade, New Approach will come from the Treasury, with an expectation that it could add up to billions of pounds.

Read More: Climate change and flag-flying pledges included in Stormont deal

The cash is expected to front load efforts to resolve the deepening health crisis, with tackling the healthcare workers' pay dispute and spiralling hospital waiting lists topping the list of priorities.

The Irish government will honour commitments to part-fund some north/south projects, such as the A5 dual carriageway and a redevelopment of the Ulster canal system.

Read More: Analyis: The Executive is back - but hard work has only begun

Mr Murphy said the deal secured last week by the two governments contained "ambitious commitments for public services and workers".

"To deliver these commitments, the governments pledged a substantial injection of funding, over and above the block grant," he said.

Read More: Ambitious plans to 'transform' health service welcome but challenging to deliver

Mr Johnson said Stormont could now "move forward with improving people’s lives".

"I look forward to meeting with the new executive and hearing about their plans for the future - including driving forward much needed reforms to public services and resolving the current health strike," he said.

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