The Irish Government’s commitments under the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement include working through the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) to help deliver infrastructure projects that will benefit people across the island, to achieve greater connectivity, North and South, and investing in the North West region and in Border Communities.
These commitments are reflected in the Shared Island chapter of our Programme for Government, ensuring their delivery is at the heart of the work of this Government. Specifically, the Government has recommitted to the funding of £75 million over the next three years for the A5 project and agreed the launch of restoration work on phase 2 of the Ulster Canal project, including with the support of €6 million from the Shared Island Fund. Work on a strategic review of the rail network on the Island of Ireland and the review to explore the potential for re-establishing viable air routes is advancing, and the Narrow Water bridge and cross-border Greenways continue to be a key priorities.
Progressing these projects is the primary focus of my discussions with Minister Nichola Mallon, MLA at both the NSMC Plenary (31 July and 18 December 2020) and Transport Sectoral (7 October 2020) formations. I have also had direct bilateral engagement with Minister MaIlon after the aforementioned Plenary meetings and on 25 September 2020 and 27 January 2021, respectively. My Department is also in regular contact with the Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland in order to progress the transport infrastructure projects that fall under NDNA.
I look forward to continuing this engagement with Minister Mallon at the next NSMC Transport Sectoral meeting which is schedeuled for 16 April 2021.