Today the All-Ireland Good Friday Agreement Committee at the Oireachtas addressed the needs of communities and business along the border. The committee heard representations from the Centre for Cross Border Studies and received an update on the development of the A5 linking Donegal and Derry with Dublin.
Speaking at the meeting Pat Doherty MP said,
“The border region has been hardest hit by the recession north and south. It suffers doubly through poor infrastructure connecting to Dublin and Belfast and fragmented economies and public services. The decision by the Irish Government to withdraw funding for the A5 road has further undermined the region. It is imperative that if we are to grow these communities we require imaginative thinking, flexibility and investment. At first step would be to commit to reinvest in the A5 and work to build a Border Development Zone to promote economic growth and joint public services.”
Martin Ferris TD said, “Partition is not just a historic anomaly, its impacts daily on communities and business along the border and across Ireland. Our economies are interlinked and interdependent. We need to build policies and structures that reflect that reality. It is clear that co-operation and investment is not a luxury but a necessity for businesses and communities. We need a concerted effort to build a development zone to promote growth and joint services along the border. We also need to invest in infrastructure and the A5 road must be a priority. It is a matter of urgency for Minister Varadkar to commit funds to complete the preparatory work on the Monaghan side so that the project is fully shovel ready and not further delayed. “