Minister for Foreign Affairs announces historic investment in North/South projects
The Government yesterday launched its new €183billion (£120 billion) National Development Plan. For the first time, the Plan includes proposals for additional investment by the Government in North/South projects and initiatives that will benefit everyone on the island.
The Government proposes to invest significant funding in key strategic infrastructure projects. Priorities for new joint projects include the completion by 2013 of high quality roads linking Dublin, Belfast and Derry/Letterkenny; the restoration of the Ulster Canal and improved access for tourism and other opportunities along the Eastern corridor, including better links between Co. Down and Co. Louth. The Government also wishes to see closer co-operation in health and education infrastructure and services.
The Government is also proposing new all-island competitive funds to support education, skills, science and innovation, energy research, regional development, tourism development, social inclusion and community infrastructure.
Commenting earlier today, Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: “We believe these proposals will benefit the entire community in Northern Ireland, as well as benefiting both North and South. This represents a substantial extra investment in the island economy and in Northern Ireland.
“We want to reach early agreement with the British Government and the restored Northern Ireland Executive on these proposals so that we can get on and deliver for all the people we represent.”
He continued: “We are already investing over €1 billion (£650 million sterling) in North/South projects. These proposals represent an additional investment on top of that.”
“Promoting balanced regional development and addressing the problems of the border region are a priority in the NDP.”
The Minister: “Living close to the border I have seen first hand its negative impact on economic growth. I believe we can achieve better economic success by co-operation and working together.
“I am pleased that the NDP provides for a €300 million Gateway Innovation Fund. This will greatly enhance the border gateways of Dundalk, Sligo and Letterkenny/Derry, benefiting both sides of the border.”
The NDP also envisages closer co-operation on infrastructure development including on roads, rail and the City of Derry Airport, the completion of the Single Electricity Market by November 2007, a new North/South electricity interconnector and a South/North gas pipeline as well as co-operation on skills, innovation, trade and investment promotion, health and education
24 January 2007