Irish Sea tunnel mocked as fantasy

Image: Annie Spratt.
Image: Annie Spratt.

Senior Conservative, Simon Hoare, suggests ‘putting the hallucinogenics down’ and making the Northern Ireland protocol work.

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A senior member of the UK’s governing Conservative Party has mocked proposals for an undersea tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland, calling it a Doctor Dolittle fantasy designed to distract from post-Brexit border check problems, reports the Guardian.

Simon Hoare, the Tory MP who chairs Westminster’s Northern Ireland affairs committee alluded to the Doctor Dolittle creature, the PushmePullyou, saying: “The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of unicorns overseen by stern, officious dodos… A PushmePullyou could be the senior guard and Puff the Magic Dragon the inspector…

“Let’s concentrate on making the protocol work and put the hallucinogenics down.”

“People don’t want a Boris bridge, a Boris burrow, frankly a Boris anything…”

Rail industry leaders have proposed the tunnel as a means of facilitating the free movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland, but politicians and business leaders have heaped scorn on the idea. Nicola Mallon, Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister said: “It’s time the prime minister woke up to that reality, people here simply don’t want a Boris bridge, a Boris burrow, frankly a Boris anything… They want jobs, opportunities, stability and a brighter future.”

And Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said it took 30 years to build the Channel tunnel and that any tunnel to Northern Ireland would not circumvent border checks. The most direct route for a tunnel passes Beaufort’s Dyke, a 1000ft-deep trench in the Irish Sea which the UK government used as a dump for explosives and chemical weapons, including mustard and sarin gas.

The proponents of the tunnel, the High Speed Rail Group, said the tunnel would bind the UK together and “address problems in economic status of Northern Ireland post-Brexit”. The group’s preferred route is based on research carried out by Victorian engineer, James Barton, 120 years ago, and could be re-routed to avoid Beaufort’s Dyke. The head of the group, Sir Peter Hendy, is expected to publish an interim report in the next few weeks.

“Can we just have 10% of the multi-billions… oh, and maybe some zero-emission ferries.”

Downing Street mooted the possibility of a bridge between the UK and NI last year and that proposal was criticised as an attempt to appease unionists worried that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would weaken the Province’s position in the Union.

Steve Aiken, Ulster Unionist Party leader, dismissed the tunnel as unworkable. ” Can we just have 10% of the multi-billions that it would cost to fix our infrastructure – oh, and maybe some zero-emission ferries [built here] – now that would make more sense [also get rid of the Irish Sea border].”

The Democratic Unionist party MP, Sammy Wilson, said he considered it more important that Northern Ireland be connected to the UK economically and constitutionally, not physically.

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