FF condemns lack of political will for A5 project

Published on: 23 October 2013

Fianna Fáil has called for a clear commitment from the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to the A5 upgrade.

It follows the news that the Northern Executive has pulled money for the project in order to fund a new Children’s Hospital in Belfast. Last year, the Fine Gael/Labour Government withdrew its funding commitment for the project.

Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said this latest news comes as another major blow to a project that has been plagued with difficulties and unacceptable delays, particularly over the last two and half years.

“My fear is that despite the years of preparation, investment and cross-border cooperation the political will just isn’t there anymore to make this crucial project a reality,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.

“Far too much has gone into this development and it is far too important for the future of the entire North West region for it to all go to waste now. The total cost, as agreed under the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006, was to be split between the Irish and British governments. The previous Fianna Fáil led Government pledged £400 million (€470 million) for the development. The current Government reneged on the funding commitment and I believe this lack of political will from Fine Gael and Labour has led to this week’s decision by the Northern Executive to divert funds away from the project.

“I am now calling on the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to show some leadership and arrange a meeting with his counterpart in Belfast to get this project back on track. The North West needs this development to open up the region, encourage investment, boost tourism and strengthen business links. The Government cannot afford to let such a vital project fall by the wayside.”

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