A delegation from the North West, comprising representatives from Derry, Donegal, Strabane, Omagh, Monaghan and Armagh attended a series of meetings in Belfast and Dublin last week to reiterate the importance of the A5 Western Transport Corridor and to discuss the implications of the postponement of funding for the major cross border project.
John Meehan, Deputy Town Clerk who represented Derry City Council said there was a strong message from the group to both the Irish and Stormont governments that they must commit to the A5 project. He said there had been widespread disappointment at the decision by the Irish Government to postpone their funding and Derry City Council and its partners were keen to instill on both Governments the implications of the decision on the North West and cross border regions.
He said: “The A5 dual carriageway scheme was about addressing the economic imbalance in terms of infrastructural investment in the North West region. This project would have had a huge impact for the region, helping to redress that imbalance and provide us with road links from our city to Dublin and help us improve trade, industry and tourism opportunities.”
The delegation met with the NI Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy and outlined to him the need for the project to go ahead for the economic growth and development of the North West region. The following day, the delegation made a submission reinforcing the strategic importance of the A5/N2 project to the North West to the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD.
“We were pleased that the Ministers listened to our concerns and gave us assurances that officials from both Governments have been tasked to develop a funding and implementation plan for the project. The meetings were very positive and it gave us a unique opportunity to speak directly to the Transport Ministers to outline our collaborative approach to ensuring that the infrastructural needs of the North West region are addressed as a matter of urgency. As we approach 2013 and our year as the UK City of Culture, it is imperative that we have the necessary transport network and infrastructure in place,” John Meehan added.
Mr Meehan concluded that the group will continue to lobby the Executive and Dublin Government to ensure the A5 project remains a capital investment priority for both administrations.