I AM sure that, like me, the residents of Stranraer and Portpatrick have been following the recent proposal of a link-up between Scotland and Northern Ireland with great interest. It’s not often that this often forgotten corner of Scotland receives so much coverage by the media. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has announced that Boris Johnson now favours a tunnel instead of a bridge ("Forget a bridge – Boris is considering tunnel to Northern Ireland, MSPS told", The Herald, March 6). According to Mr Jack this could be achievable by 2030 because tunnelling techniques are quite advanced. Even the problem of Beaufort’s Dyke and the tons of Second World War munitions dumped there, is apparently something which can be overcome.

As someone born and raised in Stranraer I can say with some confidence that the majority of the local population living here do not consider a tunnel to Northern Ireland to be on our priority list. We do, however, urgently need to see major improvements to the A77 and the A75. The road infrastructure must be in place before any tunnel feasibility study is commissioned.

Herald readers may be interested to know that the idea of a tunnel between Scotland and Ireland has been around since 1893 when an engineer considered it a feasible proposal with an estimated cost of £10,000. In 1906 there was a proposal, to have, from Northern Ireland, a submarine tubular bridge, floating at a fixed depth and some 26 miles long. The fear was of the moorings breaking or a ship sinking on top of it and the idea was consequently shelved. In 1907 there was talk once again of a tunnel from Lochryan. The scheme was mooted again in 1929 and there was even consideration given to a tunnel by Stranraer Town Council in the late 1930s. It was thought a tunnel would save time for the rugby players who travelled to Larne and Stranraer in alternate years for their matches.

The question of a tunnel, I believe, was last raised in Parliament in 1967 when the Government considered the time was not right for such a scheme. I would urge that any future tunnel feasibility study must involve engaging with the communities both in Wigtownshire and Northern Ireland. The future of the ferries, a major employer, must also be at the forefront of any future discussion. Let’s put the idea of a proposed tunnel aside for now and concentrate on improving the roads to Galloway, making them safer and more accessible.

Elaine Barton, Stranraer.

COULD our Secretary of State’s problems with the meaning of "euphemism" be a bridge, or a tunnel, too far?

Gilbert MacKay, Newton Mearns.