Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Infrastructure Minister Urged To Progress All-Island Rail Strategy

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The SDLP has called on Infrastructure Minister, John O’Dowd, to work with the Irish government to progress the All-Island Strategic Rail Review.

SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson Mark H Durkan is set to bring forward an Opposition Motion in the Assembly today, Tuesday, 27 February. It also calls on the Minister to produce an immediate update on the Phase 3 Derry to Coleraine Feasibility Study.

Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said: “The restoration of a comprehensive all-island rail network has the potential to transform communities across this island. Ensuring that every county has proper rail links would open up huge opportunities for areas that have traditionally lost out on investment due to a perception of not having the modern transport links or the infrastructure required to attract major companies.

“In government the SDLP commissioned the all-island rail review to examine how we address the long-standing issues around connectivity and to create opportunities for economic growth and to bolster our burgeoning tourism industry. In Opposition, we will hold the Executive to account on its delivery.

“A modern, affordable and accessible rail network would also give people more choice around where they live and work and help us to tackle the climate crisis and meet our net zero targets by encouraging people to use public transport, leave their car at home and cut harmful emissions.

“It’s imperative that the Minister works with his counterparts in the Irish Government to bring forward a costed implementation plan before the end of 2024. This project needs to be more than just aspirational, we need to see real action, funding secured and work begin as soon as possible.

“We must also see action on Phase 3 of work on the Derry to Coleraine line, this has suffered numerous delays, causing great frustration across the North West. Tomorrow’s motion from the SDLP Opposition could change the face of travel on this island and we will continue to work with the Minister and the Irish Government until we see this project realised for everyone’s benefit.”

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