‘Dungiven is a priority’

Councillors in Dungiven have expressed their disgust after no mention was made of a bypass for the busy town in the programme of works announced by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson this week.

Mr. Wilson revealed a series of capital investments in hospitals and the road network, totalling almost £600 million.

He told MLAs that £330m will be spent upgrading two sections of the A5 between Derry and Strabane, as well as Omagh and Ballygawley. More than £28m will be spent on the Altnagelvin Hospital and about £60m will go to the new Omagh Hospital and the Ulster Hospital.

Councillors in Dungiven said once again Dungiven had been forgotten.

“It’s disappointing news,” said Sinn Fein Colr. Anne Brolly. “I mean we had a big presentation in Dungiven just a few weeks ago telling us the plans and what would be happening, and people had built up their hopes but it seems they have been lulled into a false sense of security again.

“People are very angry, and I think we really have to look at the monitoring of pollution in Dungiven over nine years and the fact there has been no intervention. Nothing will get rid of that other than a bypass. The people of Dungiven are very angry and have been tolerating this for 40 years, but they are running out of tolerance. Watch this space.”

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said it was a “disgrace” Dungiven had been passed over. He said there was £60 million set aside to start the bypass, and asked why progress wasn’t been made. “I think we need to put the pressure on and let it be known Dungiven is a priority.”

SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said it was extremely disappointing the most congested town between Belfast and Derry “has once again been left out for the much needed bypass”.

“While we welcome news on funding for the hospitals, we are very angry that Dungiven hasn’t got its bypass and that residents’ health will continue to suffer because of pollution at Lower Main Street.”