Tory Minister Neil O'Brien compares Derry to Armagh, Newry and Lisburn - 'it's not all about Belfast'

Neil O'Brien, a junior minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has compared Derry to Armagh, Newry and Lisburn, saying 'it is not all about Belfast'.

By Kevin Mullan
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:39 pm

He was speaking during a briefing of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

Mr. O’Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, DLHC, said: "Northern Ireland has a whole number of strong cities, like Armagh, Derry/Londonderry, Newry and Lisburn. They all have different strengths. I would not just assume it is all about Belfast. They all have different opportunities that we need to build on."

Sue Gray, Second Permanent Secretary at DLHC, said: "Belfast is great, but it is not all about Belfast. It is about the whole area."

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Neil O'Brien

Mr. O'Brien told the committee that he visited the north last August and visited a dozen voluntary groups in Derry, Strabane, Belfast and Fermanagh.

Ms. Gray said: "In the visit that Neil referred to in August, we went around a variety of places. As we look to see how we can support people in this process, whether it is the north-west or wherever it is, they will be a really important part.

"We want to look to make sure that all parts of Northern Ireland are applying and being successful. Being successful means that they need support from us and we are really willing to do that."