Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley says the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon’s decision to hold a fresh public inquiry early next year into the upgrade of the A5 has left the project further back than ever.
The West Tyrone MP said,
“There is shock and massive disappointment throughout the community that the Minister has announced a fresh public inquiry into the A5 Upgrade.
“Given that a full year has passed since the completion of the last limited public inquiry and given that it was widely expected that the Minister would finally announce a decision to proceed with Phase 1 of the project this decision leaves us further back than ever.
“It was widely believed that the Minister was taking her time to ensure that she had all her ducks in a row so that a decision to proceed could not be challenged. The question now therefore is what has she been doing in the interim.
“Instead of a positive decision she has instead finally published the Planning Appeals Commission and far from progressing the A5 new obstacles and delays have been put up to stall its progression.
“She now says that there will now be another environmental statement for consultation in the autumn and the reopening of the public inquiry early next year.
“People are gutted at this news and are in a state of disbelief.”