Infrastructure key to North West future development
West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has said the future development of the North West hinges on the construction of key transport corridors such as the A5.
Mr McAleer, who is a member of the Assembly Regional Development committee was speaking after a meeting with the Chief Executive of Derry Port and Harbour, Brian McGrath.
Mr McAleer said,
“Derry port is the most peripheral in the EU and is a key gateway to North America. It handles £1 billion of trade per annum and imports 600,000 tonnes of oil. In fact, around 40% of fuel used in our cars is imported through Derry.
“The port is the main distribution point for Chinese plywood for all of Ireland and Britain.
“It receives thousands of tonnes of coal from as far away as South Africa and Columbia as well as sand, concrete and other supplies for local industry.
“It employs 1,000 people and is a key part of our agriculture industry taking in around 400,000 tonnes of animal feed per year and thousands of tonnes of fertilizer which is blended and bagged on-site.
“As a key distribution point and economic driver it is critical that decent infrastructure is in place to enable onward distribution around Ireland and Britain.
“During our meeting, the Chief Executive emphasised the critical importance of developing the A5 and A6 as dual carriageways.
“Despite the peripheral location of the North West and the fact it straddles 2 EU states, the A5, A6 and Derry Port are not considered part of the core network by the EU.
“This greatly inhibits the level of funding available, particularly from the multi-billion euro TEN-T fund.
“I plan to raise the need for a renewed focus by DRD on infrastructural developments in the North West with Minister McIlveen at the earliest opportunity”.