Committee of Public Accounts: Press Notice

Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice

Committee of Public Accounts cancels hearing on the upgrade of the Belfast to Bangor railway line

Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:

“In view of the welcome prospects of an early resumption of devolution in Northern Ireland, the Committee has decided to cancel its hearing on the Upgrade of the Belfast-Bangor Railway Line which was scheduled for 28 March.  Members believe that it is right and proper that the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee should have the opportunity to deal with this topic.

“While our Committee has been pleased to deal with Northern Ireland issues during the period of direct rule, I have always said that the Region’s issues are best dealt with by members of the Legislative Assembly, directly accountable to the people of Northern Ireland.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report on the Belfast to Bangor Line (HC 343) has important implications for securing better value for money from the investment which is needed in Northern Ireland’s transport infrastructure.  I commend this topic to the Stormont PAC as an urgent issue for their consideration, when devolution resumes.”

Mr John Dowdall CB, the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland, published a report on 22 March 2007 which examined the upgrade of the Belfast-Bangor railway line carried out by Translink in 2001.  The Committee of Public Accounts had planned a session for Wednesday 28 March to hear evidence from officials of the Department for Regional Development and from Translink on this report.  Given the agreement for the restoration of political institutions on 8 May, the Committee agreed to cancel its session to allow the Stormont PAC an opportunity to consider this report.