As the Deputy will be aware, transport was specifically identified in the Good Friday Agreement as one of the key areas for North/South cooperation and consequently is one on which the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) meets in Sectoral format. The Council meets in this format in order to make decisions on common policies and approaches in the area of transport including areas where there may be scope to better integrate transport provision throughout the island.
The most recent NSMC meeting in Transport Sectoral format took place on 17th April in Armagh. The meeting was attended by Alex Attwood MLA, Minister for the Environment in Northern Ireland, Danny Kennedy MLA Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland, and me. Amongst the agenda items for this meeting was an update on the A5 and A8 major road projects; a progress report on the work which is underway to allow for the mutual recognition of penalty points; a review of the ongoing cooperation in the areas of road user and vehicle safety as well as a discussion on EU matters which impact on the transport sector in the two jurisdictions. Other items which have previously featured on the agenda at NSMC Transport meetings have included the All Island Freight Forum, developments on the Dublin/Belfast Rail line and cross-border community based rural transport.
The next NSMC meeting in Transport Sectoral format is scheduled for 28th November 2013. I look forward to the very positive cooperation in the transport area continuing and to availing of any other beneficial opportunities for north/south cooperation, including in relation to an integrated transport system, in the future.