Outrage after 'most dangerous road in Ireland' claims 15 lives
Fifteen people have died on what has been described as "the most dangerous road in Ireland" between 2015 and September last year, according to figures released to a campaigning MLA.
The shocking death toll on the A5 sparked a call by the SDLP's Daniel McCrossan to bring forward a long-awaited multi-million pound improvement scheme, first agreed by the NI Executive in 2007.
Mr McCrossan said: "These figures show that over the last four years alone, 15 people have died on what has become the most dangerous road in Ireland.
"Yet, due to a calamity of issues, the people of the West and North West still haven't seen progress on the A5 Western Traffic Corridor scheme that will save countless lives.
"It is reprehensible that this road scheme has faced so many obstacles, so much politics and so many delay
"The people here deserve so much better. Those holding back the scheme should hang their heads in shame."
In a letter to the MLA, the Department for Infrastructure revealed that between January 2015 and September 2018 there were 12 collisions on the A5 which resulted in 15 fatalities between Newbuildings and Aughnacloy. In September, Omagh pensioner Sean Reid (69) lost his life on the A5. His grieving brother Joe said the road was a "death trap".
Last night the Department for Infrastructure confirmed it was working to get the A5 project under way later this year.
"The A5 remains a very high priority for the Department... construction works on Phase 1a could commence on site in late 2019," it said.
When complete, the new A5 dual carriageway will run for 53 miles between Newbuildings, near Londonderry, and Aughnacloy.
Some £80m has already been spent on the project, which had been bogged down in the courts after opposition from landowners, farmers and environmentalists. The most recent legal action ended in November after new powers were granted to civil servants to make decisions in the absence of Stormont ministers.