Lobbying continues for A5
and Letterkenny connection
The Letterkenny Chamber has called for the A5 western transport corridor to be prioritised, calling it one of the most important pieces of infrastructure for the region. The consultation phase of the project closes this week.
In another development, Niall Blaney, Fianna Fill TD, has met with Noel Dempsey, TD, to stress the importance of including a new link road from Letterkenny to Lifford alongside the N2/A5 project. The deputy said that for that to happen, the link road must be included in funding allocated in 2011.
The Letterkenny Chamber says the development of the A5 is crucial to the economy of the north-west. A statement from the Chamber said the organization and their colleagues have been assured for the last number of years that the road would be completed. The consultation offers an opportunity to ensure the voice of the business community is heard, they said.
"The present road connecting to the N2, although improved in parts, is still below what would be expected in a modern European country," said Letterkenny Chamber President Patrick McGinley. "It is important to remember that Derry, with which Letterkenny shares a strategic gateway, is the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. This road is of economic, strategic importance to all of us on the island of Ireland and it is critical to opening up the west of Ulster for investment and development."
All of the major cities on the island with the exception of Derry are now linked by motorway, Mr. McGinley said, adding, "In this context it is difficult to overstate the importance of this road."
Many businesses in the region travel regularly to Dublin to access customers, suppliers and to travel onwards for business, and the road infrastructure through Tyrone "is clearly not fit for purpose," he said.
"We cannot allow the economic conditions in Ireland to be used as an excuse to discontinue this project," he said.
Toni Forrester, chief executive of the Letterkenny Chamber, said that over the past number of weeks they have garnered support from a range of bodies, business organisations and politicians on the issue, and they will continue to lobby politicians and ministers to ensure the project goes ahead.
"Infrastructure has always been one of our key issues and the importance of this road to Letterkenny and the north-west cannot be understated," she said.
The Letterkenny Chamber and their colleagues from other chambers, under the auspices of the North West Chambers of Commerce Initiative, have continuously lobbied for improved road provision between Derry and Dublin.
Following his discussions with Minister Dempsey, Deputy Blaney said he explained to the minister "the paramount importance of ensuring that Letterkenny is not left behind as planning on the N2/A5 continues. Completing a direct road from Dublin to Letterkenny will open up the entire county and stimulate the economy."
The deputy told the minister that Donegal County Council is in a position to start a new bridge-crossing between Lifford and Strabane if there is money that has not been spent on other projects.
The deputy said that improved access to the region will help create jobs, attract investment and invest tourism, a view he said is shared by many local business and civic officials who have endorsed his campaign for the road.
"Paul Byrne of Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the benefit to local businesses; Paul Hannigan of LYIT believes it will boost investment in education; Joe Mangan of Mangan Tours and Dolores McGee from Donegal Self Catering have said the link would improve tourism in the county; and Senior Roads Engineer Aidan O'Doherty said the project is one of the most important he has ever worked on," Deputy Blaney said.
He said the minister has agreed to give careful consideration to his proposal to build a Lifford to Letterkenny road alongside the N2/A5 Dublin to Derry road.