Bring rail link to Craigavon, says O’Dowd

A multi-agency working group should be set up to exploit the benefits of the railway line in Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan, says Sinn Féin.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 12:00 am
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th September 2019 - Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye. Sinn Fein's annual 'Away Day' meeting will take place in the Carrickdale Hotel, Co. Louth on Wednesday 11th September. The meeting is attended by elected representatives from across the island and will address the issues of Brexit, Irish Unity, Sinn Fein's alternative budget and Dail priorities. John O'Dowd

MLA John O’Dowd was speaking after a multimillion pound upgrade of the railway line with a new station planned for Lurgan in the next number of years.

Mr O’Dowd said: “The full potential economic benefits of the railway line and stations has not been fully exploited.

He added: “Too many workers leave the area daily to travel to Belfast instead of the railway line being used to bring jobs and investment into the area.

“With a multi agency approach there is huge potential for investment in the area as a result of being on the railway line.

“With the price of office space rising in Belfast. Drogheda and Dublin the logical decision for firms looking office space and other working space is to look to locations with lower overheads,” said Mr O’Dowd.

“The Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown areas offer that alternative.

“There are pockets of land along and near the railway lines which need to be used for such purposes and a multi agency approach is best placed to identify and invest in the infrastructure needed to attract business into the area,” he said.

“The once proposed central railway hub near Rushmere must also be brought to fruition.”

Mr O’Dowd said: “For too long the railway line has been viewed as a nuisance causing traffic delays, which it does, but it is not going away and we now have a huge opportunity to turn the railway line into an economic driver which can create and sustain hundreds of jobs.”