Derry MP Colum Eastwood blasts Boris Johnson 'fantasy bridge' that would traverse miles of unexploded bombs and radioactive waste
Derry MP Colum Eastwood has blasted Boris Johnson's mooted £33billlion 'fantasy bridge' from Ireland to Scotland saying he has no mandate to impose it on the people of the country.
The SDLP leader said the British Prime Minister and his government should be addressing gaps in road and rail infrastructure rather than focusing on a fixed link over the Sea of Moyle.
"The Prime Minister's fantasy bridge to Northern Ireland could cost £33 billion. This while our road and rail networks have been absolutely decimated from decades of underinvestment," said Mr. Eastwood in the British House of Commons this afternoon.
He said the British Government did not have a mandate to impose the project on the people of the north. He also raised the problem of mustard gas and phosphorous bombs that were dumped off the Irish coast by the British after the Second World War.
"The Conservative Party got a grand total of 2,399 votes at the last Assembly election. What mandate does he think he has to override the democratically elected people of Northern Ireland to impose a bridge that goes through miles of unexploded munitions and radioactive waste?" asked Mr. Eastwood.
Mr. Johnson said he outlined his position on the the UK Strategic Transport Network in an article in the London newspaper the Daily Telegraph this morning.
The article coincided with the publication of transport expert Peter Hendy's Union Connectivity Review Interim Report that was published on Wednesday.
Mr. Johnson claimed that the improvement of the A75 which runs from Gretna to Cairnryan in Scotland was the 'single biggest thing that people in Northern Ireland wanted.'
"Actually, if you read the article I wrote this morning in the Daily Telegraph he [Mr. Eastwood] would have seen that the things we set out in the review, I think, would be of massive benefit to Northern Ireland including upgrading the A75 which is the single biggest thing that people in Northern Ireland wanted by the way which the Scottish nationalists, the National Party have totally failed to do.
"As well as better connections east-west within Northern Ireland which we should be doing as well, as well as better connections north-south within the island of Ireland.
"It's a fantastic Union Connectivity Review. He should appreciate it. It's the way forward and I'm amazed frankly at his negativity," said the Prime Minister.
In his report Hendy outlines how he was specifically asked about a fixed link from Ireland to Britain and how he has now asked Professor Douglas Oakervee and Professor Gordon Masterton, 'to lead a discrete piece of work, using engineering consultants, to assess the feasibility of such a link, and an outline cost and timescale for the link and the associated works needed'.
The interim report lists a number of key concerns raised about the transport network in Ireland and Britain.
These include a call for: faster and higher capacity connections from Belfast to North West Northern Ireland, and to the Republic of Ireland, for passengers and freight, and to link with the Republic’s plans for rail development; and a higher capacity and faster connection on the A75 from the ferry port at Cairnryan to the M6 corridor for freight and passengers to and from Northern Ireland.