18 May 2006

North-south plans could top £60bn

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
18 May 2006

More than £60bn could be spent on cross-border infrastructure in the next 10 years, the Irish Government has pledged.

And the completion of "inter-urban" road links in the north-west is among the key priorities.

Government departments, agencies and other organisations have been asked to submit proposals for new projects.

With the countdown to the Government's devolution underway, the work of the North-South bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement will be back in the spotlight.

In the Assembly on Tuesday the DUP said the creation of the North-South bodies was an important issue.

Yet in the event of failure to reach agreement on a power-sharing administration by November 24, the British and Irish Governments have signalled closer co-operation to implement the Agreement.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said, there was an "unprecedented opportunity" now for North-South co-operation.

"It is estimated that over the next ten years a total of 100 billion euros (£62.5m) could be spent on infrastructure on the island.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to work together, North and South, to develop an integrated, all-island infrastructure that will benefit everyone throughout the island."

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