Minister Donohoe attends North South Ministerial Transport Council meeting

22nd April, 2015

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) attended the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) Transport sectoral meeting in Armagh. The meeting, which is the 18th of its kind, was attended by Mark H Durkan, MLA Minister of Environment; and Danny Kennedy, MLA, Minister for Regional Development (DRD).


Items on the agenda included cross border initiatives such as greenways and road user safety, the mutual recognition of penalty points, major road projects such as the A5 and A8 and strategic transport priorities. At the NSMC Institutional Meeting on 25th February 2015 it was agreed that Ministers should review the work programmes in their various sectors and an update paper on these discussions be brought to the June 2015 Plenary meeting. This item was also discussed.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘This is the second NSMC transport meeting I have attended in my role as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. These meetings provide a valuable platform to deepen relations north and south of the border and to enable us to work to advance initiatives and projects that are mutually beneficial to both’.


“As is the norm, there were a number of recurring items on today’s agenda and this meeting presented an opportunity to advance these issues further.  We also had the opportunity to consider the work programme for future transport sectoral meetings and to ensure we are adequately planning for the future. As both economies continue to develop it is crucial that we strengthen links and work together to develop transport options, to encourage tourists to come to the island of Ireland and to work together in support of initiatives such as the IRFU’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the announcement of which I recently attended. This will ensure that our best foot is forward, our people are represented in the most effective way and Ireland benefits in the best way possible.”


Joint Communiqué issued by the NSMC Secretariat below.



Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093











22 APRIL 2015



  1. A North South Ministerial Council Transport meeting was held in the NSMC Joint Secretariat offices, Armagh on 22 April 2015. The meeting was attended by Mark H Durkan MLA, Minister of the Environment, Danny Kennedy MLA, Minister for Regional Development and Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.  Minister Durkan chaired the meeting.




  1. Ministers had a discussion on the review of work programmes for the Transport Sector and noted that an update will be provided to a future meeting.




  1. Ministers welcomed the continued co-operation between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department for Regional Development on Strategic Transport Priorities and noted the opportunities for cooperation in:-


  • developing the strategic road network;
  • enhancing east west and north south connections; and


  • driving modal shift to public and more sustainable modes of transport and the potential for shared cross border public transport services in border areas.




  1. Ministers welcomed the continued co-operation between the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department for Regional Development on EU related Transport issues.


  1. Ministers noted the opportunity to strengthen the TEN-T application process for each jurisdiction and agree to further exploration by departmental officials to develop Co-operation Statement templates which support project applications to the fund.


  1. Ministers also noted the position with regard to the INTERREG programmes including the update on the INTERREG IV funding of the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise Service upgrade and Drogheda viaduct works.




  1. Ministers welcomed the continued investment by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department for Regional Development on the promotion and development of sustainable transport options, including cycling.


  1. They also noted that Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport officials are working with Department for Regional Development officials to scope out potential Greenway projects that may be eligible for INTERREG V funding.


  1. The Council noted the update on the work being undertaken by the Northern Ireland Greenways Working Group in terms of the development of cross border Greenways.


  1. Ministers recognised the benefits of collaboration in developing Greenway networks.




A5 Project


  1. Ministers noted that public consultation on three reports informing the Appropriate Assessment process concluded in June 2014 and consultation on the fourth and final report concluded in November 2014.


  1. The Council noted that work on the new draft Statutory Orders and a new Environmental Statement is now complete and  when published, will be subject to public consultation which may lead to a further Public Inquiry.


  1. Ministers confirmed that both Governments remain committed to the A5 scheme.


A8 Project


  1. Ministers welcomed that construction work on the A8 project is progressing well and the road is expected to open to traffic by the end of May 2015.




  1. Ministers noted the good progress made by joint Steering and Working Groups on the issues identified, some of which are complex and difficult to resolve. Ministers also noted that Working Group will seek legal advice on issues related to equality of treatment, with a view to providing an update on those issues for the November 2015 NSMC meeting.


  1. The Council noted that both jurisdictions will continue to carry forward work regarding the acceptance of postal summons by the courts, with a view to providing a report to the November 2015 NSMC meeting.




  1. Ministers welcomed the continued sharing of knowledge and experience between officials from both jurisdictions on the delivery of road safety measures.


  1. The Council noted progress on development of Ireland’s Road Traffic Bill 2015 which will include measures to address drug-driving and proposals to make a number of amendments to legislation regarding penalty points, written-off vehicles, and the mutual recognition of driver disqualifications between Ireland and the UK.


  1. They also noted progress on Northern Ireland’s Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill which will include provisions to tackle drink driving and to reform the learner and restricted driver regime, introduce Graduated Driver Licensing and mandatory wearing of helmets when riding a quad bike on public roads.


  1. Ministers noted the continuing co-operation to target a wide range of illegal activity within the goods haulage and passenger transport industries, including continuing liaison on successful cross border enforcement operations planned for 2015 in both jurisdictions.


  1. Ministers welcomed the continued exchange between enforcement officers on use of new technology to enforce tachograph and drivers’ hours regulations.


  1. The introduction by Ireland was noted of a new speed limit sign for minor local roads and the publication of updated Speed Limit Guidelines.



23.     Ministers noted the continuing engagement by officials on cross-border taxi and wedding car operations.

         Date of next meeting


  1. The Council agreed to hold its next NSMC Transport meeting in November 2015.





Joint Secretariat

22 April 2015