SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has welcomed the announcement of a public consultation on the all-island Strategic Rail Review.
The public consultation was announced this week by SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and Irish Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.
It opened on Monday and seeks to gain insights from stakeholders and the wider public on the best way to shape and develop the rail network across Ireland.
Mrs Kelly encouraged local people and businesses to have their say by responding to the consultation.
Upper Bann MLA Mrs Kelly said:
“This public consultation is an exciting opportunity for everyone to have their say on the future of rail provision across Ireland. This island once had a thriving railway network and since coming into office SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has committed to exploring an expanded railway network, which has the potential to be transformative for communities across our island.
“The benefits of an overhaul of our current railway network are clear, it would allow us to address the regional imbalances that exist across the island, making our communities better connected and making rail a real option for people who regularly travel for work, to visit friends and family and to socialise. It would also bring a boost for our economy, with poor public transport links regularly cited as a reason for the lack of investment outside our population centres.
“More public transport options would also take more cars off our roads, which is a key part of plans to tackle the climate crisis and protect our environment. I welcome SDLP Minister Mallon’s work on progressing this project so far and hope this public consultation marks the next step in making the revolution of our island’s rail network a reality. I know this an issue many people locally feel very passionate about and would urge them not to miss this unique opportunity to give their view.
“While other political parties are busy politicking, the SDLP is focused on delivering for people. After almost 15 years of Sinn Féin-DUP joint Government, the public deserve delivery. We’re up for the job.”