Angry reaction to A5 funding postponement

Politicians in the north west have reacted angrily to the Irish government’s decision to postpone funding for the A5 road project.

Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood says the postponement is “ a major blow”.

“The A5 road makes sense for Ireland, North and South. It makes sense for the North West. If Stormont and Dublin are in any way serious about tackling regional imbalance then it is imperative that major infrastructural projects such as the A5 go ahead.

“They must go ahead without the prospect of further delay.

‘The decision by the Irish Government today to postpone their funding commitment for this road is a major blow. I am in no doubt that the equivocation of the Executive on their commitment to the A5 has played a direct role in this decision”

He says the north’s Executive “must act now to remove its ambiguity towards the A5, ring fence its share of the funding, and move quickly to engage with the Taoiseach to ensure this postponement is not a cancellation.”

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty called the Irish government’s decision a “cynical betrayal by this government of all the people in the north west part of Ireland for whom the development of the A5 dual carriageway is of such crucial strategic importance for the future socio-economic regeneration of this region.”

“It represents a complete u-turn on written commitments I received from Enda Kenny who, just prior to his election as An Taoiseach, gave his party’s firm commitment to the A5 project.

“More importantly in making this announcement, this Fine Gael/Labour administration is reneging on binding commitments entered into by the Irish government as part of the St Andrews Agreement in 2006.

“Is this announcement related to this administration’s decision to pay off the un-regulated bondholders and has the money that was ring-fenced for the A5 now been siphoned off for this purpose?,” he says.