A5 funding boost sparks call for Belfast road investment

Gerry Kindlon.
Gerry Kindlon.

Derry’s Chamber of Commerce has urged Northern Ireland’s politicians to make greater progress towards improving Derry’s road link with Belfast.

Chamber President Gerry Kindlon made the call after the announcement of £75m as part of the new Stormont Agreement to get the A5 Derry to Dublin project off the ground in 2017.

Mr Kindlon said: “While the A5 improvement is better than nothing, it does not in itself create strategic road connectivity for Derry.

“We continue to suffer from the lack of any proper high quality road network. Our businesses need a much improved road link with Belfast as a priority.”

Calling for the Magee expansion to be prioritse, he added: “It also has to be stressed that cutting the Corporation Tax rate will not achieve the maximum result unless the Executive also takes steps to improve our skills base.”

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan welcomed the Irish government’s confirmation that it is to make £75m to allow for work on the Derry to Strabane stretch of the A5.

“This vital project is essential for job creation throughout the North West, which is why I negotiated Irish government financial support for it and its inclusion in the National Development Plan,” he said.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney meanwhile said: “The A5 upgrade is one of the most major infrastructural projects which has been planned in recent years and has the potential to transform the economy of the north west of Ireland.”