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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 Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Leader of the Social Democratic & Labour Party 12:15 pm, 11th May 2009

Mr Speaker, before I ask the Minister a question about his statement, for which I thank him, I believe that a procedural point has arisen for you and the House authorities to consider. The Minister indicated that a matter on which he wanted to report was discussed at the meeting; however, he did not make that report. Accountability and transparency are supposed to mean that, when matters are discussed at such meetings, they should be duly reported on. It seems bizarre that a party that very much insists on that has prevented the Minister, through no fault of his own, reporting on the matter in question. Therefore, the matter must be addressed, because an awkward precedent will be created if it is allowed to stand.

I thank the Minister for what he said about the A5 north-west gateway, and I welcome his further comments about money coming from the Irish Government. We received those commitments from the Taoiseach privately, and I believe that they will be repeated publicly this week. However, is the Minister concerned to ensure that every effort will be made to expedite the delivery of that project? Although the project may not be under financial pressure, does the Minister accept that, in the coming years, there will be significant pressure on the transport investment strategies in the North and the South? Is there perhaps a need for a more integrated strategy, and will the sectors North and South begin working to that end?