SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said that the establishment of an All-Ireland Rail Network has the potential to transform transport across the island.
He was speaking after introducing a motion at the SDLP Conference in Derry.
Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said: “The establishment of a modern rail network across Ireland has been a long-term aim of the SDLP. In government we worked with Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to introduce the All-Island Strategic Rail Review which examines the potential for a widespread rail network connecting our cities and towns right across this island.
“We need to the recommendations of the review introduced alongside continued cooperation with the Irish Government to set out a long-term investment strategy which brings this island together, improving transport links and introducing opportunities for investment and growth.
“An expanded rail network has an important role to play as we tackle the climate emergency that threatens our way of life and future. If we want to encourage people to leave their cars at home, reducing harmful emissions that do so much damage to our environment, then we need to investment in a robust public transport network that reflects the modern needs of the population across this island.
“This island once had vibrant rail network that stretched right across the country. That has disappeared over the past 100 years leaving many communities isolated and relying on the bare minimum of public transport links. The SDLP believes that a properly resourced public transport network must be a cornerstone of a New Ireland as we seek to address the long-standing issues impacting people across Ireland.”