Belfast Telegraph

Group blocking A5 upgrade owe apology if case fails, says MLA

By Donna Deeney

A lobby group set up to block the proposed A5 dual carriageway must apologise to the public if its legal case - set to be heard on June 4 - fails, an MLA has said.

SDLP West Tyrone MLA, Daniel McCrossan has been heavily critical of the A5 Alternative Alliance (A5AA), which he said held no regard for the wider population of the wider North West.

Mr McCrossan said: "I am glad to have clarity on the date of the legal case so that this long, protracted and unnecessary challenge can be put to bed.

"These people are bringing this case out of self-interest and nothing else. They have little to no regard for the people of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal.

"Many people have lost their lives on what is the most dangerous road on this island.

"Community leaders have called for the upgrade, businesses have called for the upgrade and the general public have called for it. It's about time work got under way."

Mr McCrossan said the people of the West and North West "deserve better".

He added: "High unemployment, high deprivation and high levels of poverty seems to be the matter of the day here but nothing is done to turn things around."

"This infrastructure upgrade is a step in the right direction. There has to be some sort of economic ambition for this place.

"Many people have got in touch with me in recent months and there is severe public anger out there. These people ask me how can one organisation keep stalling the project and there's nothing being done about it?

"June 4 now represents what I hope will be the final say in the legal challenge and if the challenge fails, the A5AA owes the public a massive apology."

John Dunbarr is chairman of the A5 Alternative Alliance, which was founded in 2010 to represent farmers who argue valuable acres of their land will be rendered useless under the current proposed route.

He remains adamant the group's actions are justified.

He said: "We accept fully there is a need for this road to be upgraded, but it should be done along the road that currently exists.

"Farmers living along the 55 miles in question would have no problem exchanging their land for a going rate to allow the current road to be upgrade - but the proposed route is a waste of money, is unnecessary and will render valuable farm land useless.

"It will see farms severed, seven homes demolished and communities split and that is what is at the heart of our challenge."

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