Northwest Chambers unite to call for progress on the A5

Letterkenny Chamber's Toni Forrester
Letterkenny Chamber's Toni Forrester

The Chambers of Commerce in the Northwest have united to express their frustration at the Department for Regional Development’s decision not to appeal a judge's decision delaying the A5 upgrade going ahead.

Its after the Minister responsible,Danny Kennedy said this week he will not appeal the judges's quashing of the decision to go ahead with the new A5 dual carriageway project.

In a rare move, the Chambers of Commerce from Derry, Omagh, Strabane, Ballybofey, Letterkenny and Derry have come together to express their disappointment and frustration that the A5 project has been delayed.

The judges decision to quash the project came following a successfull legal challenge from the Alternative A5 Alliance to the planned new route due to a “breach of a habitats directive.

The Chambers, in a statement, state that they understand that the Rivers Foyle and Finn are special areas of conservation and would call on department to ensure that the necessary assessment is a priority focus, so that the delay is kept to an absolute minimum.

They say the benefit and impact of a completed A5 to the economy would be significant, not only in terms of construction, but also for internal and external investment.

In conclusion, the Chambers state that most importantly they seek an assurance from the Executive on their continued commitment to the A5 project and that the full £330m will be reallocated to the scheme when it clears the existing legal hurdles.

Those calls could fall on death ears as Minister Danny Kennedy has already said he would now engage with the Northern Ireland Executive to see how finance may be deployed.