Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue has said there is an onus on political leaders on both sides of the border to ensure that the crucial A5 upgrade goes ahead.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy has said the project must not be jeopardised by yesterday’s High Court ruling. The court quashed permission to proceed with construction at this time, because of the potential impact on the River Foyle and River Finn special areas of conservation.
“This project has taken years of preparation, cross-border cooperation and investment. It is central to the recovery and development of this region, and it would be devastating if it did not go ahead,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“In light of the High Court ruling yesterday, I am calling on the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to urgently engage with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to ensure that the A5 project can proceed. We cannot allow this to bring the entire project to a halt after everything that has already gone into it.
“The A5 project has already been plagued with unacceptable delays over the past two years and has lost funding as a result of work not commencing last year. There is a real danger that further funding will now be lost, unless political leaders on both sides of the border sit down and agree a way forward.
“Far too much has gone into this project, and it is far too important for the future of this entire region, for it to fall by the wayside now. I am urging the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Transport Minister to show some leadership here and start discussions with Stormont immediately on a way forward.
“Transport links to Donegal are significantly under-developed and the A5 dual-carriageway has the potential to open up this entire region. It will encourage investment, boost tourism, strengthen business links, and make a huge difference to people and businesses in Donegal. It is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of Donegal and the North West region. The Government cannot afford to let it pass.”