Dungiven bypass now ‘a priority’

The Dungiven bypass will be “a priority”, Regional Development minister Conor Murphy pledged to local councillors this week.

Sinn Fein’s Anne Brolly and Cathal O’hOisin, along with former East Derry MLA and long time bypass campaigner Francie Brolly and East Derry chair Sean McGlinchey, met with the minister at Stormont on Wednesday.

The Sinn Fein councillors say the minister made it crystal clear the bypass was a priority.

“My concern has always been the high levels of pollution and the adverse effect it may have had on the health of the people of Dungiven over the years,” said Colr. Brolly, who is also a member of the Dungiven Bypass committee.

“We’ve looked at all the options - putting lights at the bottom of the town, having traffic go around the back of the town - but the only viable option is a bypass. The minister assured us the bypass would be a priority and I am happy with that. I also welcomed news that his department was allocated an additional £170 million. We see through the continuous monitoring in Dungiven there are still high levels of nitrogen dioxide which will not meet the air quality directives from Europe.”

Colr. Brolly added: “The people of Dungiven deserve clean air. After all, we are living in such a beautiful, rural area, not a major world city ,and we expect healthy air. With the assurances from the minister that will change.”

Colr. Ó hOisín revealed he received written confirmation earlier this week in respect of the bypass.

“Minister Conor Murphy confirmed to the Dungiven delegation the identification of some £67 million for the construction work on this specific project,” he said of the half-hour meeting.

“This work is likely to commence one year after the start of the required public inquiry, and this may in all likelihood be in the next twelve months. This is the final confirmation to the people of Dungiven that the Minister is committed to having this bypass constructed as soon as possible.”