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‘SDLP/DUP covering up failures’ - Anderson

11 April, 2008


Foyle Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has accused SDLP Leader Mark Durkan of colluding with the DUP in order to cover-up his failure to develop Derry's railway line.

Ms. Anderson said:

"In the media this week, Mark Durkan accused the DUP and Sinn Féin of colluding with each other in order to 'watch each other's backs'.

"Yet on the very same day that he was making those claims, Mark Durkan and Gregory Campbell were colluding with each other in the Assembly chamber in order to cover up the fact that they both failed to deliver for Derry when they had the chance.

"When Mark was Finance Minister and Gregory was Regional Development Minister in the last Executive they had the opportunity to lift the restrictions which prevented any real development of the Derry railway line.

"When I challenged them on this and the fact that Sinn Féin Minister Conor Murphy has now removed the restrictions and committed £64 million to develop the railway, both Gregory and Mark openly colluded with each other in a bid to cover-up their own failures.

"At one stage during the debate Mark invited Gregory to comment on his time in office. He duly obliged and went on to accuse Sinn Féin of lying about the DUP and SDLP's record on the railway.

"Unfortunately for Mark and Gregory, the record of their failure is there for all to see and, rather than launching unfounded attacks on Sinn Féin, they now need to explain to the public why they failed to stand up for Derry." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

In September 2000, the railway task force, which was set up to consider the future of the rail network, produced a report promoting what was described as a consolidation option for the railways. That distinguished between the heavily used lines around Belfast and the lesser-used lines north of Ballymena and Whitehead, which were sometimes referred to as non-core lines. The consolidation option envisaged modernisation of the heavily used line, continuation of services on the lesser-used lines, without major investment, and the replacement of the old Class 80 rolling stock with a fleet of new trains.

The Budget of 2000 provided £102 million additional funding for the consolidation option.

From 1999 to 2002, the Department bid £4•5 million for work on the line north of Ballymena, but only £1•5 million was actually invested.

Furthermore, the 10-year regional transportation strategy published in 2001 proposed no investment in the lesser-used lines until the outcome of investment in the core network was evaluated.

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