Belfast Telegraph

Bridge link to Scotland is a pathetic distraction: SDLP

Sinead Bradley
Sinead Bradley
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Fresh talk of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland has been blasted as "a pathetic distraction" by the SDLP.

It was reported this week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had asked officials to carry out a feasibility study on a bridge across the Irish Sea.

The DUP has also voiced strong support for the project, despite the multi-billion pound costs and engineering challenge.

Retired offshore engineer James Duncan recently wrote to tell the Sunday Times: "I know this is about as feasible as building a bridge to the moon."

He said no bridge had been built across "such a wide, deep and stormy stretch of water" and cited the unknown location of a massive dump of munitions from the Second World War.

"No sane contractor or responsible government would consider building such a bridge," he said.

But Professor Alan Dunlop, the principal of Alan Dunlop Architects, supports the idea of the "Celtic crossing".

He told the Architects Journal he firmly believed that it was possible to create both a road and rail link.

"There are precedents we can draw on in Europe and globally - projects for sea bridges that span much longer distances and are designed to withstand typhoons and cover deeper trenches than those in the North Irish Sea," he said. "This is possible... and the fact that the government has called for a feasibility study into the costs and risks is a very welcome move forward."

But SDLP infrastructure spokeswoman Sinead Bradley said the idea was only being floated to distract from the "chaos" in the Conservative Party over Brexit.

"Conservative and DUP MPs are tripping over themselves to talk about the fantasy bridge to Scotland," she said. "It's hard to blame them for wanting to talk about anything other than their government which appears to be on fire but this really is a pathetic attempt at distraction."

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