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McLaughlin - National Development Plan

23 January, 2007


Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin has said that the National Development Plan (2007 - 2013) published by the 26 County government today falls short of what was expected in terms of specifics and detailed commitments to the development of the all-Ireland approach, particularly in relation to investment in infrastructure.

Mr McLaughlin

"Sinn Féin has welcomed the historic nature of this investment programme as the first commitment of its kind from the by the 26 Counties in the north.

"However, Sinn Fein have serious concerns about exactly how much of this represents genuinely new commitments and new money. It is clear that any repackaging of previous commitments would fall a long way short of what was expected and indeed what was being flagged up by the Irish government.

"There are a number of specific projects that both deserve and require an all-Ireland approach in terms of financing and development. This requires not just a commitment from the Irish government but also clear commitments from the British government.

"Sinn Fein have met with Minister Cowen on the need for an increased focus on cross-border development. Sinn Féin have argued not just for substantial investment in cross-border infrastructure and the integration of economic and social infrastructure but for progress across a range of areas including health and education. Unfortunately some commitments in relation to North-South cooperation are vague, such as the pledge to jointly improve access to health services in border region. Likewise with education.

"It is disappointing that the commitment to the Ulster Canal is only to explore the possibility for its re-opening. There is no commitment to reopen the canal or funding allocated. Similarly the NDP identifies the Dublin - Derry/Letterkenny route as a key strategic cross border route but it does not commit to funding the project." ENDS

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