THE next meeting of the North Channel Partnership will see Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council share their experiences from the Covid-19 pandemic, while charting their priorities for the next twelve months.
Elected members at the September meeting of Full Council were updated on the progress made by Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy, who continues to lobby at Westminster and Scottish government levels for improvements to the A77 and A75 Roads in Scotland.
The impact of the pandemic has highlighted the key strategic importance of the connectivity of Northern Ireland with Scotland, and the ferry route from Larne to Cairnryan has proven critical for maintain key supplies and services.
In April, the UK Government announced a funding package of up to £17million to maintain a number of ‘critical routes’ – of which Larne to Cairnryan was one – during the Coronavirus emergency.
Council’s representatives on the North Channel Partnership, Cllr Gregg McKeen, Alderman Maureen Morrow and Cllr Danny Donnelly, said the virtual meeting would be an important opportunity to discuss the progress made to date.
A joint statement from the councillors said: “To really grow the A8 at Larne into a key economic corridor, which is one of Council’s strategic priorities, we need to have adequate infrastructure between England and Scotland.
“The A77 and A75 are barriers to that, but through the North Channel Partnership we are committed in our shared focus to lobby for significant improvements to this important route.
“We are delighted that Council Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy, has been invited to become a member of the A75/A77 Action Group, alongside Junior Minister Gordon Lyons MLA, and we believe their input will be key to the future progress of the campaign for a major upgrade which will benefit the local and wider Northern Ireland economy.”