Tackling Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Apartheid – Part 1 – The Problem…

Infrastructure has become a hot topic in NI since the London government established a ‘Union Connectivity Review’ (UCR) to recommend projects to strengthen links between the UK’s constituent parts. Since then the media has been consumed by the possibility of a physical connection between NI and Scotland – first in the form of a bridge and more recently an undersea tunnel, christened the ‘Boris Bridge’ and ‘Boris Burrow’ (though I would suggest a more appropriate title should incorporate the name …

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Boris’s burrow? Boring in more ways than one.

I do not promise an absence of any further puns in this piece. So last Sunday the big news was: we can’t put a bridge over the top of the Beaufort’s Dyke, so sure we’ll just build a tunnel round it.  It’ll only be 25 miles long. Except… The Channel Tunnel is 37.92km (23.57 miles) from the English coast under Shakespeare cliff to the French coast at Sangatte.  It takes a further 9.14km (5.68 miles) to reach the tunnel mouth …

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The £400m for Infrastructure in the Conservative-DUP agreement will only exacerbate Northern Ireland’s east-west divide

Northern Ireland’s infrastructure has drawn the prize ticket from the £1bn of new money in the Conservative-DUP deal – securing £400m, or 40% of the entire fund. This has been greeted with criticism elsewhere in the UK, but can be justified on two grounds. Firstly – Northern Ireland arguably has the worst infrastructure of any region in the UK. Only significant external funding will reverse the decades-long under-investment that has caused that. Secondly – the situation is worse still within …

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Coleraine-Waterside Phase 2 contract awarded

With the controversy well recounted over the escalation of costs for the upgrade of this section of railway line, I think I should start this post with a little explanation well known to those of us who have ever been involved in procurement, whether public sector or private sector. Basically, and regardless of the skills of your Quantity Surveyor who has their ear to the ground and knows very well what the going rate is for the materials needed for …

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Conor Murphy starving North South transport links of cash

One of the less noted parts of the draft budget has been that of the Department of Regional Development. An 11 mile section of the railway line between Lisburn and Lurgan requires £40 million of repairs. The draft budget has allocated monies to improve the Coleraine to Londonderry line which would, Murphy claims, otherwise have been faced with closure but none to the Belfast Dublin line. Since money is not being spent on the Belfast to Dublin service, it will …

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IDS the Merthyr expert

The Western Mail reports on Iain Duncan Smith’s comments on the lack of mobilty of Merthyr people. Mr Duncan Smith said people in Merthyr “didn’t know if they got on the bus, an hour’s journey they’d be in Cardiff and they could look for the job there”. He added: “We need to recognise the jobs often don’t come to you. Sometimes you need to go to the jobs.” Dai Havard, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, said: “These ministers …

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