P&O Ferries fire 800 workers…

sea, north sea, boat trip

Nothing says we value our employees more than mass firing them via a video message. It seems P&O stands for P*ss Off. Last year we went on holiday to Scotland by ferry. I remember looking at the P&O website but the brand just felt tired, Stenaline had a slicker vibe so I ended up going with them. Also the fact Stenaline left from Belfast was a real convenience. I don’t know about you but when I am choosing a travel …

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Improving the bus experience from Dublin Airport…

luggage, travel, sunlight

I try not to gripe about things too often, preferring to concentrate on human interest stories that might at least offer in a glimpse of light amongst the grimness of the world we live in today. But I’m not a saint and although I tend to steer well clear of much political comment (I’ll leave that in the capable hands of all you other Sluggerites), I do eventually reach a point where I’ve had enough and yes, need to get …

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Plug the gap in NI’s rail network – Seven requests for the West…

When Northern Ireland was founded a century ago, an intricate network of railway lines knitted every town and city together across the jurisdiction. It was an important economic and social inheritance from the Victorian era, at a time when all transport was ‘public transport’. Within less than 50 years, however, all that had changed. In 1949 the multitude of private companies that ran individual railway lines across NI was nationalised under the Stormont-controlled ‘Ulster Transport Authority’ (UTA). The UTA was …

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The ‘circle line’ proposal for Greater Belfast…

Anyone familiar with the Black Mountain and Cave Hill walking trails will know that the city of Belfast is cut off from urban sprawl to its immediate west and north west. This does not mean that the communities at either side of these hills are cut off from one another. To the contrary in fact, the greater Belfast commuter belt takes in the communities from these hills to Lough Neagh in an increasingly service driven economy where Belfast has become …

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Translink to bring back a trial of later bus services

Translink Chief Executive, Chris Conway has responded to a tweet saying that the company will be resuming a trial of late night bus services. Responding to SDLP Councillor, Seamas DeFaoite he said; A range of later night services were trialled in 2019 but Covid19 did stall any further plans, we’ll start trials again in Nov/Dec as part of recovery. — Chris Conway (@CEOTranslink_NI) August 18, 2021   The transport provider has been trialing this during the latte part of 2019 …

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Tackling Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Apartheid – Part 2, The Solution…

Read part one here… It is clear that Northern Ireland has a stark east-west divide in transport infrastructure. One which fails to fully reflect its population distribution, and raises questions of sectarian policymaking and a Belfast-centric nature to governance here. It is also clear that the era of car dominance in urban areas is slowly drawing to a close worldwide, which Northern Ireland will inevitably catch up with. Climate change and a desire for more liveable towns and cities will …

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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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#TheReset – David Gavaghan on the future of relationships on these islands in a Covid-19 world…

David Gavaghan is the founder of Aurora Prime Real Estate Ltd. He is also a Non- Executive Director of CBI NI. Read a profile here or follow him on Twitter… The after-effects of Covid-19 on these two islands is currently very unclear but one thing is certain, the impact of the past few months has been seismic. There are huge adverse consequences for all parts of Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The ramifications are potentially much more …

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The challenge of Infrastructure…

In 1948, just 3 years after the end of World War 2, the NHS was born. At a time of deep financial uncertainty. In 2020, another time of deep uncertainty, the NHS has led the way. Just like in 1948 a dramatic change in direction is possible post Covid19. Health service reforms need to happen, education as well, but suddenly the pressing need is our economy and infrastructure to support future growth. At the end of May our Alliance council …

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High speed rail to the northwest would help alleviate Dublin’s housing crisis and Ireland’s severe regional inequality

Among the problems facing Ireland in 2020, two of the most pressing are the housing crisis in Dublin and severe regional economic inequality. Far removed from Dublin or any of the prosperous regional hubs such as Limerick, Galway or Cork, incomes in the northwest of Ireland (on both sides of the border) are amongst the lowest on the island. By contrast, despite the buoyant jobs market in Dublin, housing in the capital has become extremely expensive in recent years, with …

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Angry nationalist reaction to plans to rename Europa Station to Britannia Station following Brexit…

Nationalist politicians have reacted angrily to plans to change the name of Europa Bus Station in Belfast to Britannia Station. The new transport hub is due to open in 2020, at a cost of £175 million. The project comprising: station concourse, 26 bus stands, 8 railway platforms, bus maintenance and parking, car parking and a new public square. The remaining land is proposed for phased commercial development. When we asked a Dept Of Infrastructure spokesperson about the new name they …

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The sunday debate – tell us about your commute to work…

In the bar last night I was talking with a guy who lives in Belfast but works in Swords in North County Dublin. He commutes around 3 hours 10mins a day, nearly 16 hours a week. He is up at 6am leaves the house at 6:30am and is in work for around 8am. He leaves work at 4 and is back home around 5:45pm. When I looked at him in amazement he said that is nothing, there is a guy in his firm commuting …

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Is Northern Ireland’s love affair with diesel cars coming to the end of the road?

People in Northern Ireland really love their diesel vehicles. In fact, around 60% of vehicles on the road are diesel powered, and about 45% of private cars. Just one small issue, diesel pollution is killing people. If sitting in a traffic jam on the Westlink is not depressing enough, now you know that you are also slowly killing yourself and everyone around you. Researchers estimate diesel pollution kills around 30,000 people every year. From the Guardian: The global human health impact …

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A fresh start for the A5 – but at what cost?

Disclaimer: being a strong public transport advocate does not stop me from enjoying the open road, gliding effortlessly past slower traffic [You don’t say – Ed] Indeed – but we all have too many things to do that cannot conveniently be done by bike, bus or train… Mick has already considered the opportunity cost of the £75 million promised by the Irish Government for the A5 scheme from Newbuildings to Strabane, although I think that money could buy several Narrow …

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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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Committee for Regional Development has “No confidence” in the Department’s budgeting abilities

Having had a motion of no confidence in the DRD’s ability to budget passed in the Assembly last night (including recycling my own reference to Oliver Twist but not necessarily as cleverly), a relationship which has at best been difficult appears to have descended into outright hostility between the Committee for Regional Development on the one hand and the Minister, Danny Kennedy, and his Departmental officials on the other. I have written before about the difficulties faced with the 2015-16 …

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Belfast Bikes: gearing up for a spoketacular revolution?

It’s been 25 years or more since I last rode a bicycle when I was a teenager. Cycling proficiency is a dim memory of riding along a road painted onto the tarmac playground with an arm stuck out to indicate I was about to turn. It doesn’t take long to walk across Belfast. Yet the ten minutes from the Waterfront Hall to the Cathedral Quarter could be halved if who wheels took the strain. And in dry weather, biking across …

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Belfast the most congested city in the UK? (and 14th in the world)

Belfast congestion tends to disappear into insignificance when you are crawling for 10 miles along the M77 in Scotland at 8 o’clock on a Tuesday morning – it gives a whole new perspective on the hill section of the M2, and certainly on Victoria Street in the City Centre. Today’s Belfast Telegraph carries the results of the latest TomTom traffic index. My good friend and actual expert on the subject, Wesley Johnston, was unavailable and recommended me to comment on …

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Motoring could become more expensive for NI motorists

Slugger has had a number of excellent articles this year on transport especially in Belfast with the new bus lanes etc. Largely un-noticed, however, has been one seemingly unimportant event which may have significant relevance for many of Northern Ireland’s drivers. Clearly the recent reduction in the price of fuel is welcomed by many / most. However, despite the fall in price it must be remembered that most of the cost of fuel is tax and that tax might be …

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Transport options for Belfast. Who gets priority on our roads?

Andy Boal explores the transport options for Belfast It’s been interesting to read the responses to Brian’s post, but I’ve had a good look at the DRD’s proposed budget cuts and the consequences for public transport. It’s grim reading. Before we get into that, let’s start with a few principles. First of all, there is limited roadspace in Belfast, and a lot of people trying to use it.  It needs to be prioritised. Secondly, a lot of drivers have little or …

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