West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Joint transport committees to discuss A5 and N16 proposals

Published: 14 June, 2013

Sinn Féin MLA's, Declan Mc Aleer and Sean Lynch have jointly welcomed the decision by the DRD committee to invite the Dail's Joint Committee on Transport and Communications to Stormont to discuss all island infrastructure and transport matters. According to Mr Mc Aleer 'At our joint meeting in Leinster House in February it was agreed that we should prioritise island-wide infrastructural projects and meet regularly to see how we can mutually advance these. 'There are many areas of strategic importance but high on the agenda is progress on the A5 Western Transport Corridor. This is one of the most crucial pieces of infrastructure which will connect the North West to Dublin, and also within the 6 counties will create an important east-west corridor to promote trade, investment and reduce deaths and injury on our roads. 'In addition to the delay on the actual A5 getting underway, there are also many knock on effects. For example, the 300 metre bridge over the river Finn outside Strabane, which will provide a seamless link to the N14 to Letterkenny and the North West is also on hold due to the A5 legal challenge. 'The repercussions of the A5 delay are widespread. The Irish government have committed to funding a section of the A5 so it is important that we have this discussion with the committee, particularly in the context of their discussions on the budget which is scheduled for Autumn. Also on the agenda will be the Irish governments request to remove the N16 from the TEN-T Comprehensive Road Network. According to the vice chair of the DRD committee, Sean Lynch MLA, 'This is a very shortsighted proposition which would have hugely detrimental implications for infrastructural development in this part of the island. 'The A4-N16 is a key transport corridor for people and freight from Belfast to Enniskillen and further west to Sligo. It is a crucial export gateway and any attempt to remove the section from Sligo to Enniskillen from the network would restrict mobility and trade and make it more difficult to apply for EU funding for projects on the A4. 'The DRD committee has already raised the matter with Minister Kennedy, who has made our views known to Minister Varadkar in Dublin. It is therefore essential that we follow this matter up with our counterparts on the Transport committee as a matter of urgency. Mr Lynch continued 'As well as the A5, A4 and N16 there are many other items which members will want include on the agenda. These include funding for the Foyle Ferry service and development of the rail network across the island, all of which are strategically important and merit discussion in their own right. In conclusion, Mr Mc Aleer said 'We collectively share a small island on the most westerly corner of Europe. As such, it is incredibly important that we are part of a strong inter European strategic transport network. Any diminution of this will increase our sense of peripherality and curb our ability to compete on the global economic stage. For the sake of future generations and to help us move out of economic recession, we must work together on island wide infrastructural development'.