West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Frustration at Roads Minister's refusal to discuss A5

Published: 8 May, 2013

West Tyrone MLA and member of the DRD committee, Declan Mc Aleer says he is frustrated at Danny Kennedy's decision not to address the issue of the stalled A5 project at Wednesdays Regional Development meeting.

According to Mr Mc Aleer 'On 1st May, the committee wrote to Minister Kennedy inviting him to update members on the A5 project. However, on Friday afternoon the Minister wrote back to the committee stating that he would prefer to concentrate on the topic of the future governance of NI Water at Wednesday's meeting.

Mr Mc Aleer then responded directly to the Ministers private office stating 'I feel it would be important for the Minister to provide an update on the A5 at tomorrow's DRD committee meeting. The A5 is the single biggest infrastructural project in this part of the country. Its delay is causing huge anxiety among the hundreds of workers who are relying on it for their future. People who have lost loved ones are also very distressed and concerned. The A5 project is of major, immediate public importance and interest and I am requesting that it is raised at tomorrow's meeting.

Mr. Mc Aleer continued 'Whilst I appreciate that the future governance of NIW is very important, I was very disappointed and frustrated that the A5 was relegated by the Minister to another day. This was the unanimous view of the committee and was articulated by the DRD committee chair at the outset of the meeting. I also conveyed this directly to the Minister during the meeting. In response, Danny Kennedy agreed to come back to the DRD committee at the earliest opportunity to discuss the A5 "in full form".

Mr. Mc Aleer concluded 'I think it is important for the Minister to realize that there is no hiding place when it comes to the A5. Whilst this is an Executive led project, it is the DRD Minister who has key responsibility for ensuring that the single issue holding up the project, namely the EU Habitat directive, is addressed. In that respect, he needs to be aware that, along with other elected representatives we will continue to pursue him until this is addressed and the road is back on track again.

'We will use all means at our disposal, including Ministers question time, Assembly debates, DRD committee meetings, motions and face to face engagements to ensure that the A5 remains at the top of Minister Kennedy's agenda. There is too much at stake in terms of lives and jobs, this project will not be allowed to slip'.