Saturday, February 18, 2006


Improve all-Ireland infrastructure - Cowen

North-South continues to make sense I'm delighted to see that the issue of North-South cooperation has been raised again, this time by the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen.

Last night he called for a radical improvement in the infrastructure north and south of the border to create economic and social progress and boost political momentum.

Opening the Ogra Fianna Fáil conference he said: "I have no doubt that upgrading the Dublin-Derry road or a Belfast-Derry dual carriageway would do more to convince people of the seriousness of our intent to promote North-South economic co-operation than any amount of talking about talks could ever conjure up.

"This means making decisions that will bring economic and social progress. Both governments should take the strategic decisions necessary to enable major infrastructure projects to go ahead without any further delay.

"The interests of everybody in both jurisdictions would be greatly enhanced if such a start was made to begin improving our infrastructure, North and South, as a basic building block to improving the economic and social conditions of the people."

Mr Cowen said improving people’s everyday lives would lead to more British-Irish cooperation which would enhance competitiveness and drive job creation and investment. He added that addressing bread and butter issues on the ground would inject fresh impetus into political talks.

"Let’s see a stop to the haranguing, let everybody rid themselves of their respective sense of grievance," he said.

"Let’s do the business so that people from all side don’t have to put up with the same old rhetoric. While others grapple with the reality of co-existence with the other side in the executive, let the two governments show the way by making decisions that provide economic benefits and add to the political momentum."

I take alot of comfort in the Minister's comments. It's nice to see the Irish government at least acknowledge that a leadership role is needed now from Dublin and London.

There's a real sense that Irish Unity is now no longer the stuff of fantasy but rather something tangible that one can see becoming a reality in the next twenty or thirty years.

It's all about the money folks and the smart money is on greater North-South cooperation for the forseeable future.


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