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Anger at failure of Donegal Council to match DRD Tyrone/Donegal cross-border roads EU funding bid

11 March, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has welcomed news that DRD Roads Service has applied for EU funding from the INTERREG IV Cross-Border Programme to carry out improvements to the Castlefin Road, Corgary Road, Kilclean Road, Moneygal Road and Tulnashane Road on the Tyrone side of the border with Donegal.

However, he expressed surprise and disappointment that the Roads Department of Donegal County Council do not appear to be intending to spend any of their allocation from the INTERREG IV Programme to ensure that improvements to these five roads are uniform on both sides of the border.

Mr Doherty said,

"I received this welcome news following written representations I made to DRD Minister Conor Murphy on the issue in February. The roads identified in this bid represent a good spread in terms of the geography of the Tyrone/Donegal border and if this bid is successful, people from throughout the area would at last see that a beginning is now being made to redress the decades of neglect of this border roads network.

"Sinn Féin has been continually lobbying for a strategic cross-border approach to be taken to improve the roads network between the Derg area of Strabane and neighbouring Donegal. Last August, on foot of a proposal from local Sinn Fein councillors, a meeting was held involving councillors from the Derg and Stranorlar Electoral areas and Roads Service officials from both sides of the border with the objective of co-ordinating our efforts -and particularly in terms of making a joint bid for funding to the INTERREG IV Programme to improve the Tyrone/Donegal cross border roads network.

"I am therefore surprised and disappointed that Donegal Roads Department do not appear to be intending to spend any of their allocation from the INTERREG IV Programme to ensure that universal improvements are carried on both sides of the border to the five roads applied for in the DRD bid or any of the other cross border roads between Tyrone and Donegal.

"This is despite the fact that the Donegal Roads officials and Stranorlar Councillors who attended the August meeting were made aware of the DRD bid to INTERREG IV to improve these five roads. A follow up meeting was arranged for 19th September to discuss the issue further but was called off at the request of the Donegal side and unfortunately subsequent requests by Strabane Councillors to get a follow up meeting have also not been met.

"I think that people living along the Donegal side of the border in particular will share my surprise and disappointment that this golden opportunity for a joined up approach to much-needed road improvements in their area seems to have been lost." ENDS

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