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Transport Sectoral Format

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:15 pm on 11th May 2009.

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Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin 12:15 pm, 11th May 2009

One of the items under discussion was a policy paper on sustainable transport initiatives that the Department of Transport in the South developed. Although my Department is doing quite a lot of work on developing its own sustainable transport initiatives, that policy paper is a fairly comprehensive document from which there is much to be learned. Minister Dempsey shared with us some of the sustainable transport initiatives that are being developed in the South.

The Belfast to Dublin railway line is obviously one very important issue, not only from a public transport perspective but economically. It is a very important route on the island. Although the objective remains to improve the service and its frequency, in these difficult financial times that we face, both North and South, there is recognition that some of the initial ideas that we had will have to sit for some time, until the finances — capital investment and ongoing revenue investment — are available to develop them.

The ongoing work is of a technical nature. I presume that the Member, being an engineer, may understand it a bit better than I do. However, I know that one of the causes of engine failure is the fact that engines are also responsible for air conditioning and heating on trains. A separate system will make the trains more reliable, because engines are less likely to break down if they do not have to perform dual functions.

I will endeavour to get more information on that and share it with the Member. However, that is my understanding, as a person who is not well versed in those matters, of what they intend to do.