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Govt to withdraw funding for Monaghan-Derry road

The government is expected to scrap plans, agreed since 2006, to upgrade the cross-border A5 motorway.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT is to withdraw its commitment to pay towards a major road linking Co Monaghan with Co Derry.

The total cost of the A5 project, which was part of the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006, was to be split between the Irish and British governments.

The last government pledged to spend £400 million (€470 million) on the road, which is viewed as an important part of the country’s infrastructure, RTÉ reports.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar insisted that the current administration was “politically committed to the A5″ however, with €750 million being cut from the capital budget for next year, he said that the country was unable to pay.

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Sammy Wilson, said the news was disappointing but that the financial position of the Irish government was clear. He told the BBC that, as the Republic could not give a commitment to the A5 between now and 2016, the British government would spend the funds earmarked for the project elsewhere.

Fianna Fáil Donegal Senator Brian Ó Dohmnaill condemned such a move, saying that it would carry enormous economic, social and political implications: “The A5 Derry to Aughnacloy road must go ahead. It is an essential piece of infrastructure with huge benefits to the region,” he said.

Today’s decision was taken during a review of several proposed major transport projects, including Dublin’s Metro North.

The decision on the A5, and other proposed transport projects, is expected to be confirmed in the government’s  Infrastructure and Capital Investment plan for 2012 – 2016, due to be published tomorrow.

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