Fine Gael Minister Joe McHugh has said Fianna Fáil’s climate and environmental policy threatens major road projects like the A5.
The Minister for Education and Skills hit out after comments by Deputy Timmy Dooley on the radio this morning in relation to prioritising Government spending away from the national roads programme.
This follows on from Fianna Fáil’s support in recent days of a Green Party/Social Democrats motion to delay or cancel key parts of our regional investment under the National Development Plan (NDP).
Minister McHugh said: “We now know from the comments and actions of senior Fianna Fáil members that they are looking at taking a swipe at funding for key roads projects given half a chance.
“Mirroring the strategy of the Green Party, Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley said today that the national roads programme should be reprioritised. That’s an interesting word.
“Fianna Fáil need to tell us which road projects they would like to abandon? I hope for the sake of Donegal, it’s not our much-needed A5 which will begin later this year.
“This is a crucial route for those travelling from the north-west towards Dublin, for people living and working in Donegal, for those doing business, for tourism, for hauliers, farmers, fishermen and for regional growth.
“And I hope the opposition isn’t thinking of the Bonagee bypass or the EU backed works planned for the N15/N13 Ballyybofey/Stranorlar region; the N56/N13 Letterkenny – Manorcunningham; or the N14 Manorcunningham – Lifford/Strabane link.
“Fianna Fáil called for a 2:1 spend on public transport over roads. With Fine Gael in Government we are already spending big on public transport and cycleways, greenways all feature heavily in the NDP and the Climate Action Plan.
“But we still need roads and we are committed to continuing the maintenance and improvements of our road network.
“We believe there will be 1 million electric vehicles by 2030 and we will need continued investment in roads.
“You’d really have to question how serious Fianna Fáil is about major national roads and transport projects.
“It is not just about building new roads, it is often about maintaining and improving our current network, like the top-class improvements we made all along the N56 in Donegal and also at the Blue Banks near Letterkenny.
“Are Fianna Fáil against improving road safety? Are they against meeting the needs of isolated rural communities? Fianna Fáil need to be clear with the public in relation to their stance on this.
“If Fianna Fáil return to Government, which of our crucial road projects are they considering reprioritising,” Minister McHugh asked.