At least 50 years have passed and there still hasn’t been a sod dug on the Dungiven bypass because the political will isn’t there - that’s the claim by Dungiven resident, Vincent Gallagher who says he is “absolutely disgusted’ at news this week that neighbouring Magherafelt is to get a bypass while Dungiven remains gridlocked.
The Lower Main Street resident says he doesn’t opppose Magherafelt getting the infrastructure, but says: “A Dungiven bypass was first mentioned over 50 years ago. Magherafelt only came on the agenda in the ‘90s. I can’t understand why they’re pushing that over Dungiven when the traffic in Dungiven is getting worse and our health is getting worse because of the pollution.”
Mr. Gallagher claims an average of 25 vehicles pass his home every minute.
“The only place traffic in Magherafelt is going, in the main, is Magherafelt, but Dungiven Main Street is taking all the traffic between Belfast and Derry and Donegal,” said Mr. Gallagher. “It’s the gateway to Europe.”
Mr. Gallagher’s 40-year-old daughter Doreen is disabled and he says she is constantly sick, which he blames on the pollution from the constant flow of traffic outside their home.
“Even a doctor some years ago said the pollution was causing a lot of Doreen’s problem,” said Mr. Gallagher, who added: “I think we need new faces at Stormont because the ones there now don’t care. The political will isn’t there.”
Aidan Farren of the Dungiven Bypass Committee said they were disappointed Dungiven had been passed over again. It is six years since the Committee formed “and another six years have slipped past,” said Mr. Farren. “How long are we going to have to wait? Pollution doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’d be very interested to see recent pollution levels on readings taken.”
Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey said: “I think it’s a worrying situation for Dungiven and we’ll be raising our concerns with Minister Danny Kennedy when he comes to Limavady later this year. From a Party point of view we’ll be arranging a meeting with the Deputy First Miniister Martin McGuinness to see what can be done.”
SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said health concerns “haven’t gone away,” and Dungiven should have been prioritised over Magherafelt.
DRD intend to publish the Departmental Statement on last year’s A6 Public Enquiry sometime between October and December.