Fine Gael TD for Donegal North East, Joe McHugh, has today welcomed the announcement that £330m will be spent over the next four years on upgrading sections of the A5 from Newbuildings to Strabane, and from Omagh to Ballygawley.
The Irish Government is contributing £50 million to this project.
“Today’s announcement shows how far North-South relations have come over the last few years. Not only will the upgrade of the A5 greatly enhance access to Donegal, this announcement also demonstrates the commitment of the Northern Ireland Executive to strengthening the North-South relationship.
“Ultimately the North-South political process is about calmness, consensus and building trust. For the Northern Ireland Executive, which will channel the majority of the funding for this project over the next four years, this is a massive leap of faith.
“It is also an indication of the excellent work that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD has personally done to secure this project, at a time of very scarce resources. He has consistently demonstrated his support for this project and he was in regular contact with the leaders of the Northern Ireland Executive on this matter.
“The cross-border body Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) must also take credit for this outcome. I facilitated a meeting between ICBAN and the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, in Dublin last December to discuss this project, and ICBAN has been very proactive in lobbying at Stormont and in Dublin for progress on the road. Today’s announcement proves ICBAN’s value as a political mechanism for border communities.
“The Irish Government’s ambition is to restore the economic independence that was conceded in 2010 to the European Central Bank and the IMF. Restoration of our economic sovereignty will put the Irish Government in a strong position to deliver the final stretches of this road – from Omagh to Strabane, and from Lifford to Letterkenny. I will continue to work with colleagues in Government and with political colleagues in Northern Ireland, to ensure that progress is made.”