Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Northern Corridor Railway Report debated in Assembly

8 April, 2008

Speaking in an Assembly Debate today on the Northern Corridor Railway Report Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has said that the development of quality transport infrastructure is a key demand of the 'Stand Up For Derry' campaign.

Ms Anderson said:

"As many of you will be aware, the development of quality transport infrastructure for the North west is one of the key demands of the Stand Up For Derry campaign launched by Sinn Féin at the end of last year.

"For too long, the North West has been treated as the poor relation when it came to investment, marginalised and ignored - an entire region allowed to stagnate while investment was skewed to already more affluent areas.

"The report rightly recognises the need to view rail services in a long-term strategic manner because the fact is that we will never achieve the goals of the Programme for Government, for example, if infrastructure development is carried out in a piecemeal manner - as it has been in the past - without any recognition of the needs of areas like Derry.

" I would also like to welcome the support (for this report) of my fellow MLA for Foyle Mark Durkan as during his period as DFM and Minister for Finance and Personnel restrictions were imposed which prevented the development of any stretch of the Derry to Belfast line north of Ballymena. As people were quite rightly protesting - they were doing so without the knowledge there were restrictions on the line - Mark was aware of those restrictions and should have made the people aware of them - but did not.

"In fact, these restrictions ruled out the possibility of accessing EU funding for the line. Indeed, during the years, 1999-2002, just £1.5m was invested in the line.

"Thankfully, the present Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy has now lifted those restrictions, paving the way for a complete and substantial upgrade of the line all the way from Belfast to Derry. Of course, all of this is going to cost many millions of pounds but the Minister has committed himself to securing the necessary resources and I applaud him for doing so.

"That is the kind of political will and leadership which the people deserve but which has so often been lacking in the past." ENDS

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