Updated: 19/06/17 : 06:40:00
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New Dublin- Sligo motorway needed for softer Brexit

The commencement of negotiations in Brussels on the UK's departure from the European Union, as well as the resumption of talks in Belfast between Northern Ireland’s political parties aimed at restoring the Stormont Executive gets underway today.

It is also the day that newly elected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will meet British prime minister Theresa May in London to tell her Brexit must not adversely affect the “rights and freedoms” of Irish citizens.

He is also expected to advocate the preservation of “common citizenship” arrangements allowing Irish and British citizens the right to live, work and access welfare in each other’s countries.

A number of organisations in the Republic have issued guidelines needed to ensure a softer Brexit and lessen the impact of the 'divorce' on transport infrastructure.

One of those is an upgrade of the Sligo to Dublin road to a motorway.

Also recommended, by a associate research professor with the ESRI, Edgar Morgenroth, is a really good quality road from Donegal to Sligo.

He added, "If you think very carefully about it, the biggest lobby for this road is from Donegal, which is a remote part of Ireland.

But key to any investment decision will be an analysis as to whether hauliers will use a new road.

They are already price-sensitive, he says, citing the numbers travelling north through Slane instead of paying the toll on the M1 motorway.

"I would re-assess investment needs, particularly in relation to Donegal. Don't build anything unless hauliers use it."

Irish Rail and Translink, which jointly operate the Dublin-Belfast railway line, are also undertaking a feasibility project to identify necessary improvements for the line to boost passenger numbers and reduce journey times.

They are also considering the introduction of more frequent services.

Business lobby group Ibec and its Northern Irish counterpart CBI say that an all-island infrastructure project pipeline, which includes roads and rail north and south of the Border, could spur balanced regional development as the UK leaves the EU.