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Armstrong Slams Johnson's "Government by vanity project"

June 12, 2018 3:38 PM

Kellie ArmstrongAlliance MLA for Strangford and infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong has slammed the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, after media reports suggesting he supports building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland appeared.

Speaking after it was revealed the Foreign Secretary had indicated his support for the £15 billion bridge - a scheme which was the subject of a recent debate at Ards and North Down Council - Ms Armstrong said Northern Ireland needed "planned, strategic and targeted infrastructure investment", rather than this "government vanity project".

As it stands, Ards and North Down Council is set to take part in a feasibility study with the Scottish Government to look at potentially building it between Donaghadee and Portpatrick, a decision Alliance party representatives have consistently criticised.

Ms Armstrong added: "I've said before that this pie in the sky plan risks decimating our coastline, while installing massive motorways through North Down or East Antrim in order to facilitate it. There are those in Northern Ireland who seem determined to turn the Ards Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty, into Europe's largest lorry park.

"It would appear that Mr Johnson has seen the Alliance Party's "Bridges not Borders" document on ways forward on Brexit and taken it just a little too literally. If the Foreign Secretary wants to commit £15 billion to Northern Ireland's infrastructure, I would be more than happy to meet with him to discuss the more pressing issues such as creating a high speed rail link between Belfast and Dublin or investing in the road and rail network west of the Bann. These are the issues that would actually improves people's lives and not just satisfy Mr Johnson's desire for grand gestures.

"Whether it's a bridge across the English Channel or more than £40m wasted on the Garden bridge while Mayor of London, supporting infeasible bridge projects seems to be a reoccurring theme in Mr Johnsons' political career. Northern Ireland needs planned, strategic and targeted infrastructure investment, not this government by vanity project."

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