Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has written to the Northern Ireland Executive seeking clarification in relation to funding for the A5 Western Transport Corridor in light of December’s Budget agreement between the NI Executive and the British Government.
According to Deputy McConalogue, there is much frustration across Donegal with regard to the lack of progress of this link, which has the potential to attract new jobs and investment to the county.
He commented, “As part of the St Andrews Agreement in 2006, £330m of dedicated funding was earmarked by the British Government for the construction of the A5 from Derry to Aughnacloy. However, the intervening years have seen much of that money diverted to other Departments and projects across Northern Ireland.
“In light of the recent budget agreement between the NI Executive and the British Government, I have contacted the NI First and Deputy First Ministers as well as the North’s Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy to seek clarification on the status of the diverted funds, and to establish what arrangements the Executive has in place to retrieve this funding once final planning is granted.
“I believe it is crucial that the promise contained in the St Andrews Agreement, that the British and Irish Governments would provide funding for the construction of the A5 dual carriageway, is followed through.
“I have also recently raised the issue with Transport Minister Pashcal Donohoe in the Dáil, calling on him to commit to a clear medium term funding plan for the project, and I will continue to highlight the importance of this vital project in the Daíl. We must ensure that when the planning process for this route is finally completed, that funding is in place from both Governments to allow the project to proceed without delay.
“Donegal and the North West is the only remaining region in the country without a proper arterial road infrastructure and it is crucial for the advancement of our county that priority is given by both administrations, North and South in delivering the A5 dual carriageway for the North West”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.