Belfast Telegraph

Compromise deal may not have been the best route

By Liam Clarke

Pumping £580m into infrastructural projects is a major shot in the arm for the local economy, not to mention the hard-pressed building industry.

It will provide apprenticeships, training and hope to thousands of people as well as spin off for local shops and businesses. That could, of course, be said of any big infrastructural investment.

The nagging question is whether this was the best possible use of the money, or simply the only possible deal to satisfy both Sinn Fein and the DUP.

There is a strong argument that much of the money spent on the A5 south from Londonderry to Ballygawley as demanded by Sinn Fein would have been better spent on the A6 from Derry to Belfast where traffic volumes are heavier.

It is a bad place to get stuck behind a lorry and it links our two major cities as well as providing access to the M1 to Dublin.

Along the A6 Dungiven is crying out for a bypass, but won't be getting one.

Another strategic investment, in this year of tourism, would have been a rail spur from Antrim to the International Airport, currently served only by winding country roads.

That could have channelled tourists to Belfast and Derry as well as increasing access to our only transatlantic air route.

Then there is social housing which didn't get a penny.

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