Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

New A5 a red herring for economic growth

Danny Kennedy's prediction in July that the proposed A5 road will act as a catalyst for wider economic growth may have sounded confident, but is based on hope rather than expectation.

Infrastructure is only one of many factors that can aid economic growth. It is not the key to economic expansion.

Indeed, overspending on new and unnecessary infrastructure has played a large part in creating the current economic woes of Greece and Spain.

The building of the new A5WTC will certainly provide jobs in the construction industry. However, the jobs will be temporary. When the road is built, the workers will move on and what will be left in their wake will be severed farms with reduced output.

Thus, permanent jobs will be lost in an area that already suffers high unemployment.

In our view, these negative impacts have not been properly assessed - not to mention the environmental damage that will be caused.

The construction industry is only a recycler of the money posted to Northern Ireland by the Treasury, whereas, as Arlene Foster acknowledged in May, "the agri-food sector ... is the largest contributor to sales, external sales and employment in the Northern Ireland manufacturing sector".

So why is the same Government so intent on destroying 3,000 acres of productive farmland in the West? How does that contribute to economic growth?

ROBIN BRUCE

Alternative A5 Alliance

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