The Minister of State might also mention to the Minister of State, Deputy Moloney, my concern that he has not mentioned the current building programme for mental health services in Letterkenny. There must be a form of paranoia in the north west when we think we are being ignored.
I am glad the Minister of State, Deputy Roche, is here to respond to the matter I am raising, that of the withdrawal of the public service obligation, PSO, for the Dublin to Derry route. I was aware a debate was ongoing and an investigation or report was done on what PSOs, if any, should be maintained. I spoke to the relevant Minister and a number of other Ministers on this. I outlined the case that while improvements in road and rail links would necessitate a reduction of PSOs routes and in the need for them, the north west was not one of them, that it had not had investment in rail services or in the road network, and that the argument for the withdrawal of the PSO on the Dublin to Derry route should not be made.
It is with absolute disgust and total shame that I read an e-mail last week which announced that the PSO for Derry would be withdrawn while other PSOs should remain in place. I understand we have made very tough decisions in this House and the other one to achieve economies, and they have been made on the basis of the lack of moneys available. I tabled this Adjournment matter to ask why it was determined the PSO service for Derry was inappropriate when it has remained appropriate for other places to have such a service.
We all know the Government has invested in services. It has invested in the expansion of Derry Airport, in the PSO down the years and in the Dublin to Belfast rail service. It has been the Northern Ministers and the current Minister, Conor Murphy, MLA, who have neglected the Coleraine to Derry section of the rail service. Not many people in the South know that one can take a train from Dublin to Derry but the problem is that it takes a minimum of five hours to get there.
We accept the Government has invested serious money in the A5 road project and we know that project is developing. Minor complaints have been made from landowners but we know the major concern road users have is that they do not have access to even a dual carriageway that they were promised. We did not get the motorway that was built from Dublin to Waterford, Dublin to Cork, Dublin to Limerick, Dublin to Galway, Dublin to Sligo or Dublin to Belfast. All we got was a promise of a dual carriageway. Deputy Costello of the Labour Party has said that if his party gets into office, that project will not happen.
We are in power now and there is a possibility that we will not be in power in a few months' time. The Northern Ministers are not delivering on the train service, the Labour Party has promised it will not deliver on the A5 road project and the Government has pulled the PSO from the Dublin to Derry air service. I hope there is a valid reason for it and that there is a commercial reason for this PSO not to be pulled. I am the person who fought the corner initially with the then Minister, Deputy O'Rourke, and every successive Minister for Transport. I sat down with Michael O'Leary, Padraig O'Ceidigh and all the operators and begged them to fly into Derry Airport. It is galling for me after almost 15 years in national politics to see the PSO being pulled on this route. The issue is not the pulling of the PSO but the timing of it.
The Derry city of culture year is approaching, we have had the Clipper stopover and we have had many acknowledgements of what is important for the north west and its main city of Derry. This year will mark the 400th anniversary of Letterkenny, and how will we celebrate it? Rather than increasing the access for people to get to the north west for 2011, 2012 and 2013, we are telling them we are closing shop. We are closing down the access to the region. It is simply not acceptable.
I hope there is an argument and a reason for this. I could read the Minister of State the e-mails I have got from the people who use that flight route. I can hear their despair. Those people who leave Derry to come to Dublin on business do not have the opportunity to make a return journey by public transport. I hope we have answers for them. I hope the people of Donegal ask serious questions about the future Government of the Labour Party and Fine Gael, about which everyone is talking, which will pull the money allocated for road projects. We accept that sensible economies need to be made. We are not against Donegal Airport maintaining its investment but we ask what makes the people in the east of Donegal who use Derry City Airport different.