McCartney calls on business community to get behind A5 project
Raymond McCartney MLA (Sinn Féin, Foyle) following the debate in the Assembly on the need for the A5 Aughnacloy/Derry Dual Carriageway to proceed as originally proposed has called on the Business Community across the North West to publicly voice their support for this crucial piece of infrastructure.
Raymond McCartney said:
“This project has been campaigned and lobbied for, for decades and now just as it is on the verge of delivery the dissenting voices – in my opinion, largely politically motivated dissenting voices – have raised objections to the project. I can understand and sympathise with the individual landowners who will be adversely affected by the construction but unfortunately their situation is being used by politicians whose parties have historically and actively worked against infrastructural development West of the Bann.
“It has only been in recent years that there has been a concerted effort to develop and regenerate the North West with the establishment of Ilex. Ilex has been tasked with bringing about a much-needed jobs creation strategy and to end regional imbalance, disparity and inequalities. There has been input from all the parties, the business sector, the civic sector and the community and voluntary sector. There has been input from OFMdFM, DETI and Invest NI. Throughout that regeneration process, I have not heard a single dissenting voice in the north-west arguing against the need for a dual carriageway.
“I believe politicians, Council, Ilex, business, education, Chambers of Commerce and all other groups and organisations determined to see the North West grow and prosper should say with one voice – ‘we will no longer be treated as a no go area for industry’.
“The Executive, of which these Parties are members, have said that job creation is at the heart of the Programme for Government. We are continuously told that in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment we need proper infrastructure. The Executive has told us that the way to address this is to tackle regional disparity through good infrastructure. Now the unionist parties are telling us that we don’t need 21st century roads to attract jobs to the North West.“The Minister’s Party is most vocal in its opposition to a project that will inject impetus to economic regeneration and save lives yet he himself is proposing to spend an estimated £100Million to save a few minutes at a roads junction in Belfast. We have seen a lot of political and petty point-scoring around this project and I believe those who are arguing against it do a disservice to the people and the region that this road will service.”