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Update on A5 road ready in ‘number of weeks’ says John O’Dowd



Update on A5 road ready in ‘number of weeks’ says John O’Dowd

The Department have been awaiting scientific data before finalising their response to the public inquiry

The road had been earmarked for development in 2007, but a series of legal issues, funding problems and periods of regional government collapse have delayed the work.

More than 50 people have died on the road since the upgrade was announced.

A public inquiry into the project concluded last year, with an update on the Department’s next steps expected during the summer.

Mr O’Dowd said an announcement would be coming in the “next number of weeks”.

“I will be in a position to make an announcement later in the summer. I am now finalising the response to the Public Appeals Commission (PAC)’s report,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I was waiting on some scientific data being returned to me, which will be returned in the next number of weeks.

“Following that, I will finalise my report and make a public announcement at that stage.”

Mr O’Dowd said earlier this month that he did not have enough in his budget to deliver all the road projects he would like to.

Speaking at the launch of 100 new electric buses for the Translink fleet, Mr O’Dowd said he hoped to be able to announce the details of that budget within days.

“I hope to be in a position to announce my budget detail in the coming days, it depends on what I am allowed to do during the election period,” he said.

“We will have a small budget for road safety but I’ll work with our partners in the PSNI and other organisations to continue to send the message; be aware of your own behaviour when using our roads. That is key to public safety on the roads.

“The best measure we can take in terms of road safety is road users, whether you are a driver, a cyclist, a motorcyclist or even a pedestrian.

“It is the actions you take on the road that decide whether you and the person you share the road with arrive home safe.”

It comes as former Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Ms Pat Cullen’s nomination as a candidate for the Fermanagh South Tyrone constituency was announced on Wednesday.

She was nominated after outgoing MP Michelle Gildernew committed to running in the European Election in the Republic.

Mr O’Dowd said Ms Cullen would make an “excellent candidate” for the constituency.

“Pat will be an excellent candidate in Fermanagh South Tyrone and an excellent representative, he said.

“I think she has the experience, the drive and she will be part of a broader, all-island team.

“Her experience in her role as a union leader will bring benefits not only to the people of Fermanagh South Tyrone but to the wider region.”

It is understood the party will meet on Thursday night in Enniskillen to ratify Ms Cullen as their candidate in the July 4 General Election.

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