O’Dowd welcomes progress on the All Island Rail Review [Department for Infrastructure]
Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has welcomed progress on the All Island Rail Review which is due to complete by the end of this year. Mr O'Dowd asked his officials to explore funding opportunities for feasibility studies into the following areas:
- A new rail line between Derry and Portadown;
- Reopening the Knockmore line with a connection to Belfast International Airport;
- Electrification of Belfast to Newry line; and
- Better connections between the rail halt to Belfast City airport.
Poll shows half of voters believe Protocol is positive for economy
More than half of voters (53%) here see the current impact of the Protocol on Northern Ireland’s economy as positive, according to a poll from LucidTalk. The poll found that 54% of respondents currently view the Protocol with grace periods as being appropriate for managing the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland, but 34% disagree. Economically, 63% also think that the Protocol offers unique opportunities. However, a majority (56%) do have concerns about the consequences if the grace periods were to end and the protocol were to be fully implemented. Overall, the main worries appear to be about the political implications, with 62% seeing the Protocol as having a negative impact on political stability and 60% seeing a negative impact on British-Irish relations.
Chair and members of the Northern Ireland Building Regulations Advisory Committee reappointed [Department of Finance]
The Department of Finance announced the following reappointments to the Northern Ireland Building Regulations Advisory Committee (NIBRAC):
- Mabel Higgins - Chair
- Ross Reid - Member (Architecture area of expertise)
- David Algie - Member (Building Services, Engineering & Energy area of expertise)
The Chair’s reappointment will run until 14 April 2025. Mabel was first appointed to NIBRAC on 15 April 2019. The members’ reappointments will run until 29 September 2025. Ross and David were first appointed to NIBRAC on 30 September 2019.
Health Minister sets out health service winter planning [Department of Health]
Health Minister Robin Swann has warned that Northern Ireland’s health and social care system is facing another extremely difficult winter. The Minister updated MLAs on the winter resilience planning being undertaken across the system. These plans involve a range of actions across secondary care, social care, primary care, workforce, vaccination programmes, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 treatments. To read the plan, please click here.
Northern Ireland Housing Executive chair appointed [Department for Communities]
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced the appointment of Nicole Lappin as Chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) Board. This appointment will take effect from 5 November 2022. Mrs Nicole Lappin is a qualified barrister and Chair of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Social Care Trust.
Lyons publishes 10x Vision for Economy: Next Steps for Implementation [Department for the Economy]
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons set out objectives for the implementation of the 10x Economic Vision. Commenting on the publication, Minister Lyons said: “The objectives I have set out today indicate my ambition for our economy. These objectives focus on three themes – innovation, inclusion and sustainability – and will provide a framework for the work of DfE in implementing the 10x Vision". Expression of interest for the policy process can be accessed here.
SDLP nominates Durkan to Policing Board
The SDLP has nominated Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan to be its new representative on the Policing Board. Mr Durkan replaces previous representative Sinéad McLaughlin.