SDLP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood has questioned whether Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is only stopping in Bellarena and not Londonderry today due to the state of the Waterside railway station.
In an exchange in the Stormont Assembly on Monday (June 27) Mr Eastwood asked the Minister for Infrastructure, Chriz Hazzard “whether, although the Queen will travel by train to Bellarena tomorrow, she is not coming to Derry because of its dilapidated railway station.”
Mr Hazzard replied: “He would need to get in touch with the Queen’s diary secretary to find out why she is travelling to a particular place.”
Mr Eastwood replied: “Maybe he can give me her number. I thank the Minister for his answer, I think, but he has not really addressed the fact that our railway station in Derry is in a dilapidated state.
“I am, along with many other people, disappointed today that he has rejected the idea of a halt at City of Derry Airport. Will he give some commitment that we will have, once and for all, a proper, fit-for-purpose railway station at the old Waterside site?”
Mr Hazzard denied he had rejected the idea of a halt at Eglinton and “said that it would be remiss of me if I did not look into it.”
He added: “My department remains in negotiations over the purchase of a site, and it would be remiss of me, as Minister, to come down in favour of one site or the other when negotiations are ongoing.
“I remain committed to the transformation of the transport network in the North West.
“We will see a 21st-century transport hub develop in Derry, and I am committed to that, despite the fact that the recent Brexit vote makes investment in a lot of our projects across the North that little bit more difficult. On my watch, a transport hub in Derry remains a priority.”