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Sinn Féin demand action on Atlantic Corridor

28 February, 2006

A Sinn Féín delegation met with Dublin Transport officials today to discuss the crucial area of infrastructure development required to meet the needs of the Western Seaboard or the Atlantic Corridor.

The delegation included Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA , Barry McElduff, Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney, Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe, incoming All Ireland Co-ordinator Sean Oliver, and County Councillors Pearse Doherty (Donegal) and Gerry Murray (Mayo).

Mr McElduff said:

"This meeting represents the unique All Ireland dimension which Sinn Féin brings in outlining our vision for transport and infrastructure development. Sinn Féin continue to demand that the Irish and British governments to live up to the policy commitments as contained in the Common Chapter with Transport being one of the nine areas identified within National Development Plan 2000 ˆ 2006.

"It is no longer viable to ignore peripheral regions such as the West and the North of island while the Belfast ˆ Dublin corridor enjoys unparalleled bias. The discussion with the Department of Transport All Ireland co-ordination unit, is part of the wider acceptance that the All Ireland approach is vital to balanced regional development and to halt the rot of regional disparity. It is accepted that the Border continues to isolate and exclude communities from accessing key services because of weak transport infrastructure. The Celtic Tiger has not seen a motorway, dual carriageway and rail networks that is it for purpose for the Western Seaboard.

"The situation facing socially and economically peripheral regions such as rural Donegal, West Tyrone, Fermanagh, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan demand action. Sinn Féín wants to see a modern integrated transport system that can meet the needs of these communities. If the island is to reap the full benefits of economic advances this must be coupled with a redistribution of key infrastructure assets to the North and West of Ireland.

"With Transport 21, the Strategic Investment Board Investment Strategy, the new Common Chapter 2007 ˆ 2013, and establishment of greater integration of regions at EU level, there is are clear frameworks to lead the way forward. What is required is the political will to deliver. We need to move beyond the cosmetic and friendly relations between Departments North and South if we are to experience real, meaningful and lasting progress in this area. Integrated systems at regional and sub regional levels needs to occur."

Regional Development spokesperson Raymond McCartney added:

"Sinn Féín remains committed to the establishment of Integrated Area Planning in the Border Corridor Area. Integrated in terms of:

Economic planning and investment;

Health service provision, tourism and education;

Telecommunications, broadband access and the eradication of inadvertent roaming mobile charges;

Urban and rural development;

Waste management and environmental protection;

Upgraded, accessible, multi modal and interconnected rail, air / seaport, road transport systems.

"We must look to integrate and innovate how we prioritise our collective needs, share resources and in how we govern such progress. The process of reintegration must be financed and underpinned by common understanding of the need for equality and inclusivity. Sinn Féin will continue to press for the rights and entitlements of all citizens living on the island of Ireland across every sector which affects marginalised regions."ENDS

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