An air of frustration has surrounded the recent announcement that funding opportunities for a feasibility study into new rail links to the west of Northern Ireland are to be explored – while Armagh was not given a mention.
Just last month, Infrastructure Minister [at the time] John O’Dowd, asked Stormont officials to look into the possibility of reconnecting Portadown with Derry/Londonderry.
While no details were given as to any potential route for any future line should such proceed, but it is understood it would cross County Tyrone, travelling across Mid-Ulster through Dungannon and Omagh.
However, SDLP MLA Justin McNulty this week spoke of his frustration at a “lack of progress” on calls for the Armagh-Portadown railway line to be opened.
Newry & Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said: “Armagh is the only city on these islands without a rail connection. That is totally unacceptable.
“In the submission I made to the All-Island Strategic Rail Review, I called for the re-establishment of a rail link between Armagh and Portadown, and I wrote to the Council and asked them to do the same.
“While the recommendations of the Rail Review have not yet been published, the Infrastructure Minister is exploring the feasibility of new rail lines, but he has not included Armagh.
“I find it incredible that Armagh has no rail connection to either Belfast or Dublin. The Strategic Rail Review was set up to transform the future of rail transport on this island. Armagh must have its rail connection re-established, it’s as simple as that!”
An All Island Rail Review is due to be finalised at the end of this year.