Election Cycle 2016 – Newry & Armagh

At the start of April 2016 the President of Cycling UK (and Channel 4 News presenter) Jon Snow contacted all Northern Ireland Assembly Election candidates to ask for their support in three simple policy asks around cycling investment, building a greenway network and delivering an Active Travel Act.


The responses received from candidates standing in Newry & Armagh will be listed below. You can also click on each name to contact your local candidates through Twitter or Facebook to ask them to respond if they haven’t already. (Social media contact details are not available for all candidates.)

Name Party Investment Greenways Legislation
Paul Berry Independent ? ? ?
Cathal Boylan Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “I am happy to support NI Greenways vision for the future and will endeavour to ensure investment in cycling, in the development of a greenways network and in legislation that will lead to and support an active and healthier lifestyle.”
Comments: “Emmet and the team at CISTA Newry and Armagh wish to reach out in support of NI Greenways.

“We especially liked your idea of using the unused railroad system in Northern Ireland to create a network of vehicle free roads.

“It would be a massive regeneration project that would stimulate our construction, leisure and tourism trades and provide jobs in many rural areas which is much needed.

“The provision of local jobs in rural areas is problematic and could be eased by focusing some resources on developing leisure and tourism.

“A project of this magnitude would put NI on the map for an increasingly leisure driven Europe and a thriving cycling scene in NI.

“We are abundantly supportive of NI Greenways and your cause.”

Megan Fearon Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “I am more than happy to support NI Greenways vision and your positions in terms of investment in cycling, greenway development and legislation.”
William Irwin DUP ? ? ?
Danny Kennedy UUP YES YES YES
Comments: “Happy to confirm my support for the issues set out by Jon Snow and Cycling UK. The cycling revolution must continue.”

  1. I do not support that level of funding for cycling.  Greenways should be for recreation on foot.
  2. I do support a network of greenways as they give a large social return for low outlays.  I had reservations about the Comber Greenway which was a lost light rail opportunity.
  3. I don’t support the introduction of such an act.
Martin McAllister Independent ? ? ?
Comments: “I am pleased to inform you of my support for the vision of Greenways NI.  I will lobby for adequate investment levels and support greenway development and legislation.”

  1. “Investment: Yes. I believe that any stimulus we can use to encourage both more cyclists and safer cycling conditions should be supported.
  2. Greenways: Yes I’ve enjoyed cycling along the tow path between Newry and Portadown and know if there are more joined up routes it will promote a healthier lifestyle and attract more visitors.
  3. Legislation: Yes. We need to promote healthier more active lifestyles by legislating to support our ambition.”
Conor Murphy Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “As a regular cyclist I would be happy to support your 3 manifesto points and hope to see them implemented in the new mandate.”
Sam Nicholson UUP ? ? ?
Michael Watters Green ? ? ?
Comments: “I support a £25/person/year dedicated cycling budget to make accessible, continuous and protected infrastructure in urban areas a reality across Northern Ireland. By providing people of all ages with safe and fit-for-purpose cycle infrastructure across the region, we can expect a significant modal shift towards active transport, while also improving accessibility of our towns and cities for families and disabled people. The public health outcomes of cycling investment are clearly demonstrable across several EU states, and our population will benefit financially, and through improved quality of life, from a shift to cycling and other active transport modes, not to mention the long-term return on investment for the health service.

“I support a strong traffic-free greenways strategy with funding attached to enable rural inter-town and inter-village active travel routes across the region, improving accessibility to rural locations while incentivising rural development and promoting tourism opportunities. The public health of rural communities is often overlooked in policy discussions, and greenway development is one of many steps we can and should take to address some of these growing concerns for rural communities.

“I support the introduction of an Active Travel Bill which incorporates cycling and walking provision, and accessibility impact assessment considerations for each, into land-use planning and new developments, both rurally and within urban areas. I would also support legislative measures, where within the remit of the NI Assembly, to incentivise bicycle- and pedestrian-centred developments within urban centres, and a move towards a cellular block structure for town centres and residential areas, to strongly limit through traffic while retaining access for emergency services, deliveries and service, residents and disabled people.

“Cycling is a massive part of my life, and is something which has greatly improved my quality of life. I have seen the benefits which bicycles can bring for mobility, quality of life, and the bank balance. I would be keen to prioritise cycling and accessibility of our transport system generally during my time in the Assembly if I was elected. We have pressing environmental, financial, public health and urban liveability concerns facing us, and cycling can begin to address all of these in a significant way.”

Craig Weir Alliance YES YES YES
Comments: “The Alliance Party is fully committed to the delivery of first class integrated, sustainable and active travel for the people of Northern Ireland and recognises the wide ranging health, environmental, social and economic benefits of cycling in particular.
“Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle was privileged to establish and Chair the All Party Assembly Group on Cycling and to work with organisations like Sustrans NI and NI Greenways to mobilise MLAs in support of cycling.
“The APG on Cycling hosted a number of important stakeholder events to facilitate supportive input from MLA and NGOs into the Assembly Regional Development Committee Cycling Inquiry and the Department for Regional Development Cycling Strategy.
“The APG on Cycling also hosted and participated in events to promote Bike Week and the Sustrans/DRD Cycling Unit Belfast Bike Life Report which has established public support for increased investment in cycling provision.
“Chris Lyttle MLA submitted multiple cycling related questions to Regional Development Ministers to support enhanced cycle provision and to raise awareness of underinvestment in comparison with other regions, which DRD has estimated will decrease from £4.17 per head of population in 2014/15 to only £1.30 per head of population for 2015/16.
“Alliance Party MLAs will therefore fully support the implementation of the cycling strategy and a wide range of enhanced cycling provision in Northern Ireland, including:

  1. Increased investment in cycling of at least £10 per head of population.
  2. The development and realisation of the health, rural regeneration and tourism potential of Greenways across the region and where possibly with connectivity to the rest of the island.
  3. An Active Travel Act to incorporate cycling and walking provision into land-use planning and new development.

“We will work with everyone to make this the best cycling region in these islands.”

CISTA – Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol
DUP – Democratic Unionist Party
SDLP – Social Democratic and Labour Party
UKIP – United Kingdom Independence Party
UUP – Ulster Unionist Party

If you’re a candidate and would like to share your views on our questions to make Northern Ireland a better place for cycling, then we want to hear from you. Please email us at nigreenways@gmail.com and we’ll update this page as soon as possible.


Election Cycle 2016 is a joint effort by the good people at:

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