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North South Ministerial Council meets in Larne

3 April, 2009

The sixth meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in Transport sectoral format was held in Larne today, 3 April 2009.

Hosted by DUP Environment Minister Sammy Wilson MP, MLA, the meeting was also attended by Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy, MP, MLA and Dublin Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey TD.

The Council met to discuss cross-border co-operation in relation to Strategic Transport Planning and Road Safety.

Sinn Fein Minister Conor Murphy MP, MLA commenting after the meeting said, “Today’s meeting on an All-Island basis involved discussions on the major A5 (Aughnacloy to Derry) and A8 (Belfast to Larne) road projects which have achieved the first significant milestone – preliminary route corridor assessment – ahead of schedule and are on target to meet the second significant milestone - preferred option - by mid 2009.”

He stated that, “Discussions took place in relation to the two major road projects amongst other issues being progressed on an island-wide basis such as the extensive works currently in progress to upgrade the A4 between Dungannon and Augher., road safety and agreed measures to reduce road deaths North and South in a co-ordinated manner.”

“We also focused on issues around sustainable travel and transportation. Ministers reviewed progress on proposals for improving the Dublin-Belfast Rail Service. It noted the findings of the work carried out by rail company’s north and south since we last met, that improving the frequency of the Enterprise service remains an objective,  but that in the short-term the operating companies should examine the case for reconfiguring the Enterprise trains to improve their reliability.”

“Both myself and Noel Dempsey TD agreed that both our Departments should co-operate in organising a freight forum, involving Government and relevant stakeholders from across Ireland. This follows a presentation from the CBI-IBEC Joint Business Council on the findings of the Freight Transport Study to the NSMC last year.”

Other issues which featured on today’s agenda for discussion included bridges on the Tyrone/Monaghan border, and progress being made which will see these completed by late Spring next year, in addition to discussion around Narrow water and Ballynacarry also.

The next NSMC Transport Sectoral will take place in October in Newry/Armagh.

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