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Who is in control - Dublin, Sinn Fein - DUP Executive or the Roads Minister?

07 September 2011

TUV Leader Jim Allister has said the unfolding saga over the A5 raises serious questions as to who exactly is in charge of the project. Is it Dublin, the Sinn Fein /DUP Executive or the Roads Minister?
In a statement Jim Allister said:-
“Claims that the Republic has already contributed £19m to the A5 project – though, I would question if it was specifically for the A5 or for the A5 and A8 projects – underscores the folly of DRD delaying a decision on whether the A5 will proceed as presently planned, thereby swallowing up the entire roads budget. Minister Kennedy ought to have at least suspended the project till a reasoned decision can be taken. Now, it seems, the vested interest of the Republic is trying to force his hand by claiming a down payment.
“Ultimately, this could turn into a test of the authority and power of the DRD minister, in that the Executive’s approval of the grandiose A5 scheme, and its inclusion in the DUP/Sinn Fein Budget, may embolden some to challenge the minister’s right to alter the project. We may yet find out if Danny Kennedy is in fact in control of this scheme. I strongly believe he must assert his power as DRD minister. What would be the point in being the minister if others can restrain or override him? What would be the point in the UUP being in government if others can overrule their minister?
“The present A5 project is both unaffordable and unjustified. It is more a political project than a roads project while other far more necessary schemes, like further dualling of the A26, are jettisoned for lack of funds, There must be a reallocation of the £800m devoted to the A5 folly.
“I am not opposed to necessary upgrades along the A5, but building a Dublin to Donegal motorway is a crazed waste of scarce resources. The interests of the north west would be far better served by taking the £75m necessary for upgrading the Coleraine/Londonderry rail line from the A5 pot and distributing the balance, after any necessary upgrades, to the A 26, the A2 and other far more deserving projects.”

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NI politics