Assembly backs SDLP Opposition’s rail plan

mark h durkan Rail review

MLAs backed a motion from the SDLP Opposition calling for a costed implementation plan for the All Island Strategic Rail Review in the Assembly on Tuesday.

SDLP Opposition Infrastructure Spokesperson Mark H Durkan said that a plan must be in place by the end of 2024.

Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:

“The SDLP in government delivered the all island rail review because we know it has the potential to bring our towns and cities closer together, supercharge local economies and help us to tackle the climate crisis. In Opposition we are determined to see these proposals improved upon and delivered, we can’t see this going the way of so many Executive plans and being left on a shelf somewhere to gather dust.

“The Irish Government, British Government and the Executive should all work together to progress these plans, but the Executive must take responsibility, their first port of call cannot always be to push major projects on to someone else. Minister O’Dowd needs to work with his counterparts and have a fully costed plan in place by the end of this year, we cannot afford to lose the momentum that has been built around improved rail links and the difference it will make for communities here.

“I welcome the support for today’s motion despite attempts to remove a commitment to expanding our rail network to every county in Ireland. If we’re ever going to address regional imbalance then we need to have ambition for every part of our island. An accessible, affordable rail network that meets the demands of modern life would create new opportunities for people to live and work outside our major population centres and completely transform our public transport infrastructure.”


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