All-island investment must remain a priority, despite EU leave vote

Infrastructure investment in schemes such as the A6 'is essential'
Infrastructure investment in schemes such as the A6 'is essential'

Two major business groups have called for urgent investment to upgrade the all-island transport network to support exports, job creation and business development, as the population of the island as a whole increases.

A joint report from the CBI and Ibec, two of the leading business groups north and south of the border, sets out ambitious proposals.

Its launch is accompanied by a warning that the major challenges created by Brexit demand a new, concerted and coordinated policy response to mitigate the significant risks it poses to all island development.

Among the key aims the creation of an effective road network which the report says would support business development and tourism as well as help embed peace through generally improved prosperity.

“Progress has been achieved over the last two decades but we must now set out ambitious plans to complete the connectivity across the island that businesses need,” said CBI NI director, Nigel Smyth.

“Ibec and the CBI will continue to identify and facilitate investment and funding mechanisms to deliver the ambitious proposal that is put forward by the All Island Investment Project.

“Business will rise to the challenge and continue to build on the strong historical cooperative relationship across the island and between the two islands.”

Mary Rose Burke, Ibec director of corporate, strategic and international affairs, e said Infrastructure was the “backbone of everyday life underpinning economic activity”

“There is no activity that does not rely on infrastructure in some form. But inadequacies in infrastructure are quickly felt by almost everyone.”

Alongside the A5 and A6 upgrades in the province, the report identifies improvements to the M1/A1 Sprucefield bypass, the N20 Cork to Limerick and N15 linking Letterkenny to Sligo as vital.

“The result will be a much improved transport ‘backbone’ that measurably improves everyday life and boosts economic activity, investment and employment across the island of Ireland,” Ms Burke added.