Pat Doherty MP/MLA - Housing, enviornment & transport - Ard Fheis 2012
The Development of Regional Transport Networks and Public Transport is an integral part of Modern Life to achieving a sustainable future across the Island of Ireland.
A Modern Competitive Country needs to provide an efficient Public Transport System to support our increasing economic and social demands for mobility and accessibility.
Sinn Féin can utilize our Strength to develop a modern transport system, fit for purpose for the 21stCentury advancing an All Ireland network which integrates all of our Country.
The A5 plans for a dual Carriageway from Aughnacloy to Derry is a project which was only made possible because Sinn Féin held the Ministry for Regional Development in the last mandate.
Sinn Féin’s Commitment to deliver a policy to ensure balanced Regional Development saw this go ahead. This region as you all know has been neglected by both states on this island since partition.
The A5, one of the biggest Capital Projects ever on the island will begin later this year. Sinn Féin will continue to lobby the Irish Government to stand by their commitments to the A5 and plans for the Route from Strabane to Letterkenny and from Aughnacloy to Clontivrin are developed and delivered.
The need for cross border infrastructure projects is essential for the delivery of all island issues that will be of great benefit to all the people in this country. There are indeed a wealth of these which need to be brought forward.
Much more work must be done on the other proposed projects such as the Enniskillen By-pass and indeed the problematic sections of the A6 particularly the Dungiven By-pass and the Castledawson to Randlestown section.
I would propose that the dynamic be changed on this from being an entirely Northern based scheme encompassing the Derry-Belfast route to being an All-Ireland approach connecting Belfast Derry Sligo Galway Limerick Cork, otherwise known as the Atlantic corridor.
The benefits of this on a National basis would be immense in terms of trade and industry. Smaller but equally important infrastructure projects should include the Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry which has carried nearly three million passengers since its inception. This is a critical piece of the tourism product for all of Ireland as well as being of significant importance to the North-West. It is clear that current patterns of transport and the high level of dependency upon the private car are not sustainable.
The significant increase in fuel prices, emissions and congestion over recent years, particularly in our major cities and towns must be fairly addressed. This will required moving towards alternative means of powering vehicles and sustainable transport choices. Sinn Féin supports the E-Car/vehicle rollout across the island, a number of councils in the 6 counties have purchased electric vehicles as part of their fleet.
An issue close to my heart is rail transports, Sinn Féin in the North West produced a Pham plat arguing for the re-establishment of the Rural Network to the region, however whilst this might not be feasible or practical in the present economic climate.
The current rail system needs modernization, particularly between the major cities of Belfast and Dublin. It takes an hour longer to travel by train than by road.
Sinn Féin will continue to lobby and drive forward plan to upgrade this important. Sinn Féin again through our tenure of Minister of Regional Development initiated plans to bring a rapid transport bust system to Belfast. People with knowledge and expertise were seconded from Dublin Bus by Conor Murphy to Translink to oversee the system implemented in Belfast.
Finally Sinn Féin must be at the Centre of defending and enhancing Rural Transport Schemes which provide vital means of travel for Rural Communities particularly those at risk of Social exclusion.