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Thu, 2 April 2020

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Leo Varadkar says Boris Johnson's Northern Ireland to Scotland bridge plan should be ‘examined’

Leo Varadkar says Boris Johnson's Northern Ireland to Scotland bridge plan should be ‘examined’
2 min read

Leo Varadkar has said that Boris Johnson’s plan for a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland should be “examined” rather than “dismissed out of hand”.

The Taoiseach said Ireland would look at the proposal, which it was revealed last month is already being worked on by civil servants at the Department for Transport.

Mr Johnson said in September that building a 20-mile link between Larne and Stranraer would be “very good” and “would only cost about £15 billion”.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mr Varadkar said of the plan: “Prime Minister Johnson is genuinely interested in taking a serious look at this idea of building a bridge between Antrim and Scotland.”

“I know people dismiss it, but I don’t. It needs to be looked at. It needs to be at least examined.

“I’ve seen what the Chinese have got… 100km-long bridges. I don’t know if it is viable but I also don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand and I know he is particularly excited about that one.”

The longest bridge in the world is the 102-mile Danyang-Kunshan bridge, in China, which cost £6.5bn to build.

Mr Johnson reportedly wanted to find out how the project, which is backed by the DUP, could be funded, as well as a look at risks which could include "World War Two munitions in the Irish Sea".

The Taoiseach’s latest intervention came after he suggested that Ireland and the UK could provide a joint post-Brexit funding package for Northern Ireland to boost infrastructure in the province.

He also told the paper that he would work with his UK counterpart on boosting Northern Ireland’s underdeveloped private sector.

He said: “One of the sad things about partition and the Troubles is that the part of Ireland that used to be an industrial powerhouse . . . as old industries declined they weren’t really replaced by new industries.”

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