The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. T.D., has assured members of the Derry Chamber of Commerce that his government will make good on its promise of financial backing for the A5 Dublin to Derry road project.
Mr. Varadkar was guest of honour at the chamber’s annual dinner in the White Horse Hotel on Friday.
During a wide-ranging speech, which addressed Brexit, cross-border cooperation, the Stormont talks, the peace process, the border, and Derry’s trading heritage, the Taoiseach said monies will be forthcoming for the A5 under the Irish government’s capital investment programme over the next several years.
He said Dublin’s ‘cast iron’ commitment to the dual-carriageway would help ameliorate the likely adverse impact of Brexit, which is expected to hit Derry and Donegal harder than most other areas.
“Our 10 year capital plan will support links between Dublin and Derry-Londonderry and Donegal,” said Mr. Varadkar.
“The Irish Government has already made a very significant contribution to the construction of the A5 dual-carriageway.
“The commitment is cast iron and the money has been allocated by the Minister for Finance. I want to see that project go ahead as quickly as possible.
“I also believe that the completion of routes from Dublin to Derry and Donegal should be a strategic priority for governments both north and south.
“We know how important this road will be for the connectivity of Derry and Donegal to the rest of the island and we are looking for this project to be advanced as rapidly as possible.
“An investment in infrastructure is an investment in the future, and will benefit the people and businesses of both parts of this island,” he added.
The Taoiseach said other critical road connections from Dublin included the roads through Monaghan and the roads into Donegal and Letterkenny.
The Taoiseach was joined in Derry by his Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeilge, Gaeltachta and the Islands, Joe McHugh.
The Rosguill-native said: “The Taoiseach recognises very well the infrastructural challenges of the entire North West, of Donegal and Derry, and the need to improve transport links.
“I welcome his comments again this evening; that the commitment of the Irish Government to the A5 is cast iron and that the money has been allocated by the Minister for Finance.
“The Taoiseach also said that connecting the North West with Dublin wasn’t just about the A5 but the roads to Letterkenny and the roads through Monaghan to the North.
“The completion of road projects like between Dublin and Donegal and on to Letterkenny are vital for future development.
“The Taoiseach has championed better North-South connections - building bridges - and his speech tonight has once again reflected that position.”