SAVE NEWGRANGE – PRESS RELEASE – 18 November 2010
“Funding NI A5 Upgrade and Slane Bypass not a Priority for Labour Party”
The Labour Party has cast doubt over whether it will keep the promise made by the current Government to give £400 (€500m) to the Northern Ireland Executive to upgrade the A5/M2, Dublin to Derry Road, which also includes the Slane bypass. The promise was made at the time of the Belfast Agreement, and has been renewed by Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey.
Public consultation on what would be the biggest road ever built in Northern Ireland began yesterday with the publication of the Environmental Statement for the A5 dual carriageway, to be built from the N2/Border to Derry, and on to Letterkenny. The deadline for public comment closes 21 January 2011.
Transport spokesman, Joe Costello, TD, responded yesterday to a pre-Budgetary survey by Save Newgrange, saying:
“Ireland is in the worst recession in the history of the State. Spending one billion euro on a new road from Dublin to Derry including a €400 million spend in Northern Ireland will certainly not be a priority for the Labour Party while essentials such as health and education are being savagely cut.
“The Labour Party has made it clear that we will be revisiting the National Development Plan and Transport 21 in the context of the present state of the public finances. A realistic cost benefit analysis will be applied to every project.
“Moreover we are reviewing the entire Transport policy with a new emphasis on urban and rural public transport.
Tom Elliot, Ulster Unionist Party leader, yesterday told the Belfast Telegraph:
“It would seem from the latest communiqué of the North-South Ministerial Council that ministers have agreed a payment schedule for the project, but I still consider that this amount of money would be better spent on other important projects in the health and education sectors.
“I share the views of many of the people on both sides of the border that the project should be scaled down to a more modest version — this could be achieved at a fraction of the cost.”
Vincent Salafia of Save Newgrange said:
“We welcome Labour’s response to the pres-budgetary survey and their promise to perform a new cost/benefit analysis on the Slane bypass and the A5 upgrade.
“We will be updating our EU Complaint, on the basis that there should have been cross-border public consultation for both ends of this single ‘transboundary project’.
“It is very telling that the Green Party and Fine Gael both declined to respond to the pre-budgetary survey.
NOTE TO EDITORS: A pre-budgetary survey was sent to all of the political parties on Thursday, 11 November, and responses were to be returned by 5.00pm yesterday, 17 November. The Labour Party was the only party to respond. The complete survey is available at www.savenewgrange.org.