East Antrim MLAs Alastair Ross and Roy Beggs Jnr have welcomed news that the construction of a new roll-on, roll-off linkspan at the Port of Cairnryan has started.
“The improvements in Scotland hold much good news for Northern Ireland. Firstly, and most importantly, the upgrade shows P&O’s commitment to the Larne-Cairnryan route, which maintains the Port of Larne at the forefront of services for freight and passengers on the island of Ireland,” said Mr Ross.
“Secondly, McLaughlin & Harvey of Newtownabbey are the contractors, securing work in the construction industry at this difficult time.
“Thirdly, this will ease the transition from land to sea on the Scottish side for the half-million and more people who used this route in 2012, making the Cairnryan-Larne route even more appealing for those who recognise it is the shortest way across the North Channel.
“Coupled with the infrastructure improvements to the A8 that will increase the connectivity for road users on this side, the works will ensure the continued future of the Port of Larne and the employment opportunities it provides to East Antrim and further afield,” said Mr Ross..
Mr Beggs said: “Given that the P&O group own both the Port of Larne and the Port at Cairnyan, the announcement of major investment in new roll-on, roll-off berthing facilities at the Scottish side is good news all round.
“Such a financial commitment to the route is something we spoke about when an Ulster Unionist delegation, including our local councillors and Jim Nicholson MEP, met with Port of Larne senior management last year.
“We have been very concerned at the loss of routes and operators from the port of Larne in recent years.
“In that context, P&O’s commitment to Larne/Cairnryan is welcome news and hopefully a harbinger for the safeguarding of local employment and better trading conditions in the years to come..”