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North to go ahead with road project axed by Irish government

Construction could begin in September on portions of the A5 route, which was meant to link Monaghan and Derry.
Feb 14th 2012, 4:12 PM 4,314 12

AUTHORITIES IN NORTHERN Ireland have announced that construction will go ahead on a joint cross-border road project which the Irish government withdrew funding from last year.

The A5 route between Monaghan and Derry was conceived as a joint project under the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006, with the then Fianna Fáil government pledging to spend €470million on the road south of the Border.

However, that funding was pulled last year as part of cuts to the capital budget. At the time Donegal representatives hit out at the decision, stressing the importance of the project to the north-west region.

Speaking today, the North’s regional development minister Danny Kennedy announced that portions of the road project would go ahead regardless.

He said the A5 was a “key transport corridor” for the North, and construction on two segments – between Derry and Strabane, and between Omagh and Ballygawley – could begin as soon as September.

The rest of the project is being reviewed by the North-South ministerial council after the Irish government’s withdrawal, he added.

Two Sinn Féin Donegal TDs today responded to the announcement by calling on the Government to reconsider its decision.

““I would urge the government here to reconsider its commitment to the Northwest motorway linking the region to the rest of the island,” Pearse Doherty said.

“Aside of the obvious benefits for the whole island of this project, the commitment to funding was part of the St Andrew’s agreement and should never have been reneged on.”

Padraig Mac Lochlainn said the construction of the two segments would be a “welcome boost for Donegal and the whole north-west.”

More: Govt to withdraw funding for Monaghan-Derry road>

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Michael Freeman

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