O’Dowd: Infrastructure holds the key to a more prosperous society

Date published: 06 February 2024

Infrastructure holds the key to unlocking a better and more prosperous society, new Minister for Infrastructure John O’Dowd has said.

Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd

Speaking as he took up office at the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), the Minister said that while there were challenges to be faced, there were big opportunities too. 

John O’Dowd said: 

“Infrastructure is a word we are all familiar with but let’s think about what it really means. In very simple terms, it’s the roads, footpaths and cyclepaths,  the buses, trains and ferries we travel on; it’s the water we drink, it shapes the places in which we live, work and enjoy – and so much more. 

“The services and policies delivered by DfI are critical to each and every one of us and often go unseen. However, the response to recent weather events and the deterioration in our roads due to years of under-investment, have brought the importance of the work we do into sharp focus.

“I know the strength within DfI is that it has a highly skilled workforce who have expertise in transport, planning and water matters.  Clearly, there are challenges – not least in addressing the effects of climate change - but there are big opportunities too because we have the knowledge and the expertise to not only deal with those challenges but to take forward projects and initiatives which will change things for the better.     There is a lot of work to be done in terms of improving the road and rail network, getting greenways in place, improving active travel, making sure we are prepared for floods, ensuring our planning system is working effectively.”

Minister O’Dowd concluded:

“Getting infrastructure right, and investing in it accordingly, can create the foundations for better rural and urban communities. It is the key to unlocking a more prosperous, productive society and I look forward to getting started.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department for Infrastructure is responsible for the maintenance and development of critical infrastructure in Northern Ireland including water, transport and planning functions and manages £37bn of public assets.  
  2. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk .
  3. Follow us on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure and on LinkedIn at DfILinkedIn 
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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