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Conor Murphy address to Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

1 March, 2008


Conor Murphy is the Newry MP. He is opening the Regional Development section and moving motion 143.

 

Comrades, in May of last year we entered into the new political institutions in the north.

 

The potential now exists to create a future underpinned by equality, peace and social justice.

 

We can now bring about real change for our communities - tackle discrimination, eradicate poverty and drive forward the agenda for equality.

 

Regional Development covers a vast policy area including Regional and Strategic Planning, Public transport, Air and Seaports, Roads and Water.

 

The priorities for Sinn Féin are to advance this entire range of policy and public

Conor Murphy is the Newry MP. He is opening the Regional Development section and moving motion 143.

 

Comrades, in May of last year we entered into the new political institutions in the north.

 

The potential now exists to create a future underpinned by equality, peace and social justice.

 

We can now bring about real change for our communities - tackle discrimination, eradicate poverty and drive forward the agenda for equality.

 

Regional Development covers a vast policy area including Regional and Strategic Planning, Public transport, Air and Seaports, Roads and Water.

 

The priorities for Sinn Féin are to advance this entire range of policy and public services in the context of Equality, the All-Ireland agenda.

 

And to address the historic legacy of regional imbalance and disparity between East and West.

 

We aim to modernise our infrastructure - high quality road and public transport links.

 

Without doubt Water Charges were the single biggest issue throughout the last Assembly election campaign. What was proposed by British Direct Rule Ministers was unjust and unfair.

 

Public trust and confidence has been eroded in the entire direct rule water reform process.

 

I set out very clear terms for the review of that situation.

 

I ruled out privatisation and made it clear services in the context of Equality, the All-Ireland agenda.

 

And to address the historic legacy of regional imbalance and disparity between East and West.

 

We aim to modernise our infrastructure - high quality road and public transport links.

 

Without doubt Water Charges were the single biggest issue throughout the last Assembly election campaign. What was proposed by British Direct Rule Ministers was unjust and unfair.

 

Public trust and confidence has been eroded in the entire direct rule water reform process.

 

I set out very clear terms for the review of that situation.

 

I ruled out privatisation and made it clear that these public services will operate within full public ownership now and in the future.

 

People should not and will not have to pay twice for water and sewerage services.

 

Water payments should be based on the capital value of home with real protections - through an affordability tariff - for those who can least afford to pay.

 

The recommendations, compared with direct rule ministers' proposals, can save ordinary people at least £153 million every single year.

 

I also welcome recommendations for greater accountability.

 

We also need to do much more to regenerate our inner cities and breathe life into our rural communities.

 

 

People should not and will not have to pay twice for water and sewerage services.

 

Water payments should be based on the capital value of home with real protections - through an affordability tariff - for those who can least afford to pay.

 

The recommendations, compared with direct rule ministers' proposals, can save ordinary people at least £153 million every single year.

 

I also welcome recommendations for greater accountability.

 

We also need to do much more to regenerate our inner cities and breathe life into our rural communities.

 

We are already acting on our own initiative with a multi-billion Investment Strategy over the coming decade which will address the most acute infrastructure needs of the six counties.

 

I have undertaken major programmes of investment over the next three years and identified longer term priorities.

 

I will introduce free travel on public transport for those aged 60 and over. We are investing some £137million in new trains and the railway network. The investment ban on the Derry Railway line has now been lifted.

 

This new investment will take forward important railway infrastructure projects. A £64 million major track relaying project between Coleraine and Derry; and £40million for significant improvements to the Belfast to Dublin line.

lass="msonormal"> We are already acting on our own initiative with a multi-billion Investment Strategy over the coming decade which will address the most acute infrastructure needs of the six counties.

 

I have undertaken major programmes of investment over the next three years and identified longer term priorities.

 

I will introduce free travel on public transport for those aged 60 and over. We are investing some £137million in new trains and the railway network. The investment ban on the Derry Railway line has now been lifted.

 

This new investment will take forward important railway infrastructure projects. A £64 million major track relaying project between Coleraine and Derry; and £40million for significant improvements to the Belfast to Dublin line.

 

There also will be £45 million of new investment in buses. These are substantial investments in public transport and will also help retain and improve services on the Derry line.

 

It will make bus and rail more attractive as an alternative to the private car.

 

I will also introduce a Rapid Transit system, which can dramatically change travel patterns in Ireland's second largest city, Belfast. This reflects my own personal commitment to sustainable travel and my political commitment to redressing regional imbalance in the West and North-West.

 

I will improve the ferry service from Ballycastle to Rathlin island and have finalised a new government Island policy for Rathlin.

 

We will deliver on joint  

There also will be £45 million of new investment in buses. These are substantial investments in public transport and will also help retain and improve services on the Derry line.

 

It will make bus and rail more attractive as an alternative to the private car.

 

I will also introduce a Rapid Transit system, which can dramatically change travel patterns in Ireland's second largest city, Belfast. This reflects my own personal commitment to sustainable travel and my political commitment to redressing regional imbalance in the West and North-West.

 

I will improve the ferry service from Ballycastle to Rathlin island and have finalised a new government Island policy for Rathlin.

 

We will deliver on joint funding with the Dublin Government of some £14.3 million for runway safety at Derry Airport.

 

We are investing £612 million over the three years in our road network - making our roads safer, reducing journey times and improving access to urban centres and regions in the north.

 

Crucially we will open up the North West by delivering real investment, in partnership with the Dublin government, in the Derry to Dublin route.

 

We have begun a new chapter. We are ready to meet the challenges. We are a society not just in transition - We are a society in transformation. Great progress has been made, but we still have much to do. I urge delegates to support the Ard Chomhairle motion number 143.

 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh

funding with the Dublin Government of some £14.3 million for runway safety at Derry Airport.

 

We are investing £612 million over the three years in our road network - making our roads safer, reducing journey times and improving access to urban centres and regions in the north.

 

Crucially we will open up the North West by delivering real investment, in partnership with the Dublin government, in the Derry to Dublin route.

 

We have begun a new chapter. We are ready to meet the challenges. We are a society not just in transition - We are a society in transformation. Great progress has been made, but we still have much to do. I urge delegates to support the Ard Chomhairle motion number 143.

 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh

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