Doherty seeks clarification on A5 upgrade plans
Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty MLA has written to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, British Secretary of State Peter Hain and to the relevant Ministerial and Departmental heads of transport both in Dublin and in Belfast to seek clarification as to the level of upgrade proposed for the A5 Derry and Aughnacloy as part of the overall upgrade of the main strategic transport corridor between the north west and Dublin.
The local MP said:
"At the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis at the weekend Bertie Ahern said that a financial package agreement with the British Government included a major road serving the North West. He continued to state that 'this will remove the single greatest impediment to the future development of the North West and the border counties and 'will help undo the damage of decades of division and underinvestment'.
"I welcome the fact that Bertie Ahern is explicitly concurring with Sinn Fein's analysis about the disastrous effects of partition, including the decades of under-investment. However, given that the British government's limited contribution to financial package thus far and Bertie Ahern's failure to spell out what standard of road upgrade is being proposed for the North West, including the A5, I would be concerned that what both administrations are envisaging at the moment would fall far short of what is required. An adopted two by one road or even a purpose built 2 by 1 road will leave this region lagging far behind in terms of the transport infrastructure developments that have already taken place or in the pipe line in every other region of Ireland.
"Sinn Féin has spearheaded the campaign for this upgrade to be of motorway standard so as to bring transport infrastructure development in this region into line with that in all other regions of Ireland so as to create a level playing field in terms of engendering the socio-economic regeneration of the region.
"I have now written to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, British Secretary of State Peter Hain and to the relevant Ministerial and Departmental Heads in Belfast and Dublin seeking clarification as to the level of upgrade that is proposed for the A5 road between Derry and Aughnacloy as part of the overall upgrade of the main strategic transport corridor between the north west and Dublin.
"A motorway is what is needed and in the time remaining before the institutions are scheduled to be up and running on May 8th, Sinn Fein is seeking clarification from both administrations that this is what is being planned and striving to ensure that the necessary funding for this essential infrastructure development is ring fenced within an improved Peace Dividend. ENDS