The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has vowed to personally deliver a to the sod-turning for the A5 project if construction of the Newbuildings to Strabane section goes ahead this year.
He was responding to criticism over his government’s decision to defer what is actually a €27million promised contribution to the infrastructure project that had been scheduled for allocation in 2019/20.
Last week the Dublin government said that because it believed the A5 scheme was unlikely to proceed this year the money would instead be diverted to the National Children’s Hospital project in Dublin, which is hugely over budget.
Speaking this week Mr. Varadkar, said: “I wish to clarify again that the A5 road is not delayed as a consequence of re-profiling by Government. It is delayed because of legal challenges in NI and the fact that there is no Minister to sign off on the project.
“Once it gets back on track, the Government will be more than happy to provide the €25 million that we had intended to provide this year, because the road was supposed to start this year.”
The Taoiseach said he would be there in person if the project started on schedule.
“If the road starts this year, I would be happy to be present at the sod-turning. I may even bring the cheque with me, but we are not going to pay €25 million to the Northern Ireland authorities for a road that has not even started when it was supposed to start this year.
“It is a project to which I am highly committed and one in which I believe. It will connect Derry to Dublin, will help us to develop Derry and Letterkenny as a new urban growth centre and is very much part of Project Ireland 2040,” he said.