A 50 mile tunnel connecting Ireland and Wales was suggested by UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Shapps suggested a tunnel between Wales and Ireland as an alternative to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to link Scotland to Northern Ireland.
Asked about the idea of linking Northern Ireland to mainland Britain, he replied: “Why not?”
The Daily Express reported that the tunnel could be from Holyhead to Dublin and was previously priced at £ 15bn. It would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel connecting Kent and France.
In the Sunday Times, political editor Tim Shipman reported that a feasibility study could be launched in the coming weeks.
A formal proposal for a review has been submitted by the High Speed Rail Group, representing rail companies, to Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, which is exploring ways to improve transport links to different parts of the UK .
“People think this is all a joke, but people are much more likely to think it,” the Whitehall official said.
Boris Johnson’s previous suggestion involved building a roundabout under the Isle of Man, connecting Northern Ireland, Scotland and English. The links are said to exist at Stanraer, Belfast, Liverpool and Heysham in Lancashire.
Wales was, however, visibly absent from this plan.
Shapps has doubts about the idea, however, and told the FT: “I don’t know if it should be over there or in Wales.”
The link between Ireland and Wales would allow a shortcut to the UK and European markets in Northern Ireland.
The newspaper reports the doubts of Shapps’ allies, reporting that the idea has not yet been fully formed and that a “union connectivity review” is not expected to be completed until later this summer.
According to the newspaper, however, the tunnel project is viewed as “batshit” by several of Johnson’s top collaborators.
“The idea was that these three tunnels would come together in a giant roundabout under the Isle of Man and that the tunnel to Ireland would start there,” a source told The Times. “Everyone knows Boris wants to do this, so we asked people to see how.”
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Currently, direct connections between Wales and Northern Ireland do not exist.
A new airline is expected to start flights from Cardiff Airport to Belfast City Airport from June 28, with flights four times a week.
However, ferry connections from Wales only serve the Republic of Ireland, meaning that another mode of travel is needed to travel from Wales to Northern Ireland.
Do you think that would be a good idea? Give your opinion in the comments section.