Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2486)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

2486. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of progress made on the N2/A5; if the delayed payment for the road has been since made in view of the fact payment was delayed since February 2019; the next steps for this critical link for the north west; the position regarding the Lifford to Letterkenny link road to the overall motorway access project for County Donegal and the north-west project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33969/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities.

The current funding arrangements in relation to the A5 are governed by the Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan - A Fresh Start. Under this Agreement the Government is committed to provide funding of £75 million (sterling) towards the cost of Phase 1a of the A5 upgrade scheme. As part of the Capital Plan Review in 2017 financial provision was made for meeting the Government's commitment in 3 tranches over the period 2019 to 2021. When those allocations were put in place it was anticipated that the planning process would have concluded and construction of the 1st phase started before now.

However, legal challenges to the approval of the scheme have resulted in unavoidable delays to the timeframe for implementation of the scheme. Following judicial review proceedings last year the scheme approval was quashed.

Allowing for the time required by the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to review work previously undertaken on the scheme and implement necessary statutory procedures, it was evident, following liaison at official level, that the initial tranche of funding would not be drawn down this year and would need to be rolled forward. The funding commitment remains in place to be drawn down once the planning process in Northern Ireland is concluded. As was the case for previous Government contributions, it is envisaged that payments towards the cost of the A5 will be based on an agreed protocol and linked to the achievement of construction stage milestones.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply in relation to the National Road aspects of the Deputy's question. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.