Irish Republican News · January 27, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
DUP may veto Dublin’s cross-border projects

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has said his party might move to block attempts by the Dublin government to fund projects north of the border.

The spending plans were outlined as part of a seven-year, E184bn National Development Plan which will form the backbone of the coalition government’s re-election campaign.

Few details have emerged so far, but the projects are understood to be focussed on infrastructure.

Among the possibilities mooted this week are a cross-border bridge spanning Carlingford Lough between Louth and Down, an improved road from Dublin to Derry/Donegal, and the restoration of the Ulster Canal joining waterways north and south.

On health and education, Dublin said it “could” be possible to make plans in an “all-island” context.

Robinson said the proposals would have to be “discussed and agreed by any Northern Ireland executive, and we will ensure that any contribution would be judged by the benefit that it can bring to the province [Six Counties]”

He said his party might oppose some proposals.

“We have always insisted that co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic must be practically and not politically motivated, and the Irish Government’s plans announced today are no different.”

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Caoimhghin O Caolain said that the measures in respect of all-Ireland economic development did not go far enough.

The deputy claimed that many commitments in relation to north-south cooperation were “quite vague”, such as health and education cooperation.

Mr O Caolain also expressed disappointment that in relation to the Ulster Canal the government committed only to continue to explore the possibility for its re-opening.

“While the plan identifies the Dublin - Derry/ Letterkenny route as a key strategic cross border route it does not commit to funding the development of the dual carriageway which has long been sought,” he said.

The SDLP claimed the plan was “undoing the damage of partition”. Enterprise spokesman Sean Farren said the plan marked a turning point.

“Budgeted plans are being launched to improve the life of everyone on this island. We are seeing the positive, practical unity programme championed by the SDLP in action.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News