Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for a North/South joined-up approach to economic development.
Martina Anderson said:
“The British government's partnership agreement for INTEREGG funding includes a chapter for the North.
"But neither the Department of Regional Development nor the Department of Finance incorporated any cross-border infrastructural projects such as rail or road links in their funding submissions.
“This new round of INTEREGG funding was an opportunity to put cross-border road and rail links on the agenda but neither minister availed of it.
“A key Sinn Féin manifesto commitment is for the economic development of the Western Arc Derry/Sligo/Galway corridor – as well as the A5/N2 dual carriageway connecting the North West to Dublin and the A4/N16 linking Fermanagh and Leitrim.
“Sinn Féin members in the Dail, the Assembly and on all of the councils along the proposed routes are working collectively to drive this project forward.
“The economic development of the Western Arc corridor would help build the all-Ireland economy, particularly benefiting small businesses in the border corridor area of Fermanagh and Leitrim and Derry and Donegal.
“I have met with business people in these areas and they are agreed that the lack of cross-border rail and road infrastructure is hampering their development.
“Before partition we had 21 rail links connecting people north and south – today we have been reduced to one – Dublin/Belfast!
“I will continue lobbying for investment in these areas and assisting groups and organisations to access EU Funding.
“And I will maintain pressure on the relevant government departments to utilise the availability of EU funding including the European Investment Bank for major infrastructural projects.” ENDS/CRÍOCH