West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has expressed his frustration that approximately £10 million each month is set to be taken from the pot earmarked for the A5 dualling project and re-profiled into other schemes.
The withdrawal of the money is caused by delays to the scheme caused by a Judicial Review lodged by objectors to the plans.The £10 million each month from the A5 funds will be put into other DRD projects or declared back to the Block grant for use by other departments in the current year.
In addition to this, additional costs of up to £750,000 a month as a result of delays are also being removed from the pot.
West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer, who sits on the DRD committee at Stormont, said he was “shocked” when given this information during a presentation at the DRD meeting on Wednesday morning.
According to Mr McAleer ‘The committee received a briefing from Deborah McNeilly, DRD finance director and Stewart Barnes, head of financial planning and management on the topic of the A5.
‘We heard that due to the danger of money for the A5 not being spent, the department has to reallocate it to other schemes.We were told that £10 million a month will be siphoned off from this project, plus £750,000 a month in costs.
‘The project is ready to start with contracts scheduled to be signed in October and at a time when the construction industry is on its knees, it is incredibly frustrating that upwards on 800 jobs are now on hold due to this delay.‘Whilst I defend the right of people to object to the scheme, it must be borne in mind that this delay is causing a huge loss to the local economy.As a local MLA and member of the DRD committee, I will continue to keep a focus on the A5 project and will do everything in my power to get it back on track again.'