Politicians in the north west have welcomed the Irish government’s funding commitment to A5 road connecting Derry and Aughnacloy.
Earlier this week it was revealed the Irish government has already spent £19m on the A5 project.
In May Taoiseach Enda Kenny reaffirmed that his government would meet the £400million pledge to fund the upgrade made by previous Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
Derry SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood says the road is essential to the regeneration of Derry. He welcomed the Irish government’s commitment to the project.
“The A5 will significantly cut motorists travelling time to the capital in Dublin, it will massively improve road safety and its construction will create jobs. This significant infrastructure project will also hopefully mark a small beginning in rebalancing the historical under investment in the West.
“The most important facet of the A5 project however is its potential to generate economic growth and renewal in the North West. Better connectivity, in particular between Derry and Dublin, will ensure that the North West economic sphere is broadened to include the totality of the island.”
Mr Eastwood says for too long “Derry has been at the heart of Ireland’s history but at the fringe of its economic expansion.”
West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty praised the Irish government’s “consistent approach” to the A5 project.
“The ongoing part funding of the project by the Irish government is in keeping with the written commitment I secured from Enda Kenny earlier this year and I would therefore like to credit this consistent approach on this issue and the Irish government’s acknowledgement of just how crucially important the A5 Dual Carriageway project is to the future economic development of the north west part of Ireland.
“It is essential as it will bring our roads infrastructure is up to a standard already existing in every other part of the country and in doing so it will not only increase economic competiveness in this region of Ireland but also create much needed jobs during the construction phase, cut journey times, vastly increase road safety as well bringing other social and environmental improvements.”
Meanwhile the north’s Transport minister Danny Kennedy has moved to assure people in the north west on his commitment to the project -despite it being the subject of a public inquiry and despite his department’s tight budget.
“The A5 public inquiry has still to report and I will study the independent inspector’s report and recommendations before concluding my consideration.
“My department has already committed funding to develop the A5 Western Transport Corridor dualling project with £38m being spent between November 2007 and August 2011. This includes £19m from the RoI government which is towards the A5 and A8 projects.”