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Adams welcomes extension of rapid transit studies to include west Belfast

23 July, 2007

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy to include west Belfast within a feasibility study for a rapid transit network in Belfast. Mr. Adams said: "With one third of Belfast's population living within west Belfast the exclusion of this area from the pilot schemes was a serious flaw. Today's announcement therefore is a welcome development".

Mr Adams said:

"The concept of a light rail network for west Belfast was first highlighted in the West Belfast and Shankill Economic Task Force published in February 2002.

"Since then the idea has inspired studies for a rapid transit network in other parts of this city. I am delighted that the Minister for Regional Development has decided to include the west Belfast constituency in the feasibility study.

"There are fundamental questions about transport infrastructure in this city which need to be addressed. It is incumbent on those with responsibility for existing and future transport infrastructure to ensure that it meets the social, as well as investment and economic needs of all parts of Belfast.

"One third of the population of the entire city lives in the west Belfast constituency. Given the age profile, that means that much of the future potential labour force is in this area.

"Equally, strategic regeneration must not only be about transporting people out of west Belfast, but also about bringing them and potential investors into this constituency.

"A successful transport network will be one which links all parts of the city and creates an efficient flow of people and goods.

"West Belfast is an area with much to offer. The West Belfast Task Force report incorporates many of the ingredients for a coherent and effective approach to regeneration for West Belfast, including the Shankill. I hope that with local democratically elected ministers, we will now be able to achieve renewed momentum which will deliver on that promise." ENDS

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