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A5 funding announcement restores 2007 promise

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“The funding announcement of £515 million from the Irish Government for the A5 road project is a restoration of a promise it first made in June 2007 to the Northern Ireland Executive then led by Dr Paisley.

Following the financial crash, the Republic of Ireland’s Government were unable to keep that funding commitment and whilst the A8 Belfast to Larne Road upgrade was completed, the A5 has been delayed due to legal, technical and financial considerations.

Whilst the overall cost of this cross-border project has significantly increased over the years we welcome the decision taken by the Irish Government to restore their funding commitment.

With a significant squeeze on capital budgets today’s announcement will allow for a greater degree of certainty on the A5 build next steps. As with any new road infrastructure it will be critical to ensure that there is a high degree of collaboration with local landowners, communities and businesses and that appropriate compensation is available in circumstances where the project is given the go-ahead.

Whilst we welcome support from the Irish Government for genuine cross-border projects that demonstrate mutual benefit to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it is not the job or the responsibility of the Republic’s Government to provide financial support for the provision of public services and general Northern Ireland infrastructure. That is a matter for the UK Government and must be done so in accordance with our needs base as set out in evidence provided to the UK Government.

We reiterate our position that whilst the Irish Government have made a commitment to provide an allocation of their resource to the construction of the Casement Park project, this does not deal with the substantive funding gap that exists as a result of the massive increase in costs over the period.

It is right that the GAA receives its allocation from the Northern Ireland Executive as previously agreed and in line with the allocations to the three supporting bodies but we cannot see how significant additional UK taxpayer resources will be available at a time when other vital public services are in need of additional resource and capital allocations. It will be for the UK Government to clarify its position in the coming period.”

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