Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has welcomed the Irish Government’s renewed commitment to the A5 road project.
Mr Eastwood was speaking after receiving a letter from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar laying out his government’s support for the A5.
It follows Mr Eastwood raising his concerns about delays to the vital work during a meeting in Belfast earlier this month.
The road project, which proposes to update the existing A5 to dual carriageway between Newbuildings and Aughnacloy, has been welcomed in Donegal with the project making the journey from Donegal to Dublin via a new A5 dual carriageway much more feasible.
Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said: “I welcome the Taoiseach’s assurances that the Irish Government remain committed to seeing the A5 road upgrade work carried out.
“The SDLP has long been campaigning to see this vital project move forward and it’s deeply regrettable that it has been beset with delays due to persistent objections and political dysfunction.
“Far too many lives have been lost on the A5.
“The statistics are harrowing and we have a duty to act before another family loses a loved one. Every single delay is putting the public at risk and we need to see this project progressed as a matter of urgency. A restored Stormont will be best placed to get this over the line and the Taoiseach has been clear that the Irish Government will do everything they can to ensure these improvements go ahead.
“This project should be a testament to the progress we can make when government across the island works together in the interests of people and communities that deserve investment and better infrastructure. It’s time to get this done,” said Mr Eastwood.
West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan said, “The SDLP is fighting at every level to see this project delivered not just for people in the surrounding areas, but for the North as a whole.
“I know the toll that the lives lost on this road has taken on our community and we must do everything in our power to see this project delivered at the first opportunity.
“The Irish Government have been clear that they are supportive of the A5 upgrade and we need to ensure that we are in a position to meet them half way and get this work started.
“People have waited long enough, nobody should have to risk their lives just to travel on this road and I would urge those who continue to object to this project to think about the impact they’re having and stand aside so that we can deliver these much-needed improvements for everyone,” said Mr McCrossan.
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