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28/05/24 North West Regional Development Group urges Minister to commit to improving area’s infrastructure


A delegation from the North West Regional Development Group recently met with the Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd to put forward the case for future investment in the road, rail and air network in the area to allow for balanced regional development.


Made up of councillors and senior executives from Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council, the group is tasked with delivering the social, economic and environmental regional development and regeneration of the North West City Region. €6m of funding from the North West Development Fund has already been committed to delivering a range of innovative projects including greenways, trade missions, climate action plans along with sports, arts and cultural programmes.


Chair of the group Cllr Gerry McMonagle, described the meeting as very beneficial. He said: “The meeting was an opportunity to reinforce the need for investment to the North West region and for action to be taken to allow work on the A5 Western Transport Corridor to get underway, and for wider investment to improve the road, rail and air infrastructure across the North West. The meeting was an opportunity for us to showcase the work we are doing and to bid for further funding to allow us to continue with our positive work in facilitating cross border area planning, transport planning and active and sustainable travel for the area.”


Among the items included on the meeting agenda was calls for the advancement of the A5 from Derry to Monaghan (and onto Dublin), Phase 2 of the A6 Derry to Belfast dual carriageway to be completed while the A2 Buncrana Road, the T-ENT (Trans-European Transport Network) Route and the NW Transport Plan were also identified as priority areas for improvement.


The group urged the Minister to work towards creating an All-Ireland Rail Network which would link Derry and Letterkenny with Belfast, Dublin and other key population areas across the island.


John G. McLaughlin, the Chief Executive Donegal District Council said it was hugely important for the North West Regional Development Group to have this opportunity to meet the Infrastructure Minister.  He explained: “A fully functioning and sustainable infrastructure system will allow the area to capitalise on the emerging opportunities for international investment and to continue to support companies which have already committed to the area.”


John Kelpie, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the meeting was very positive. He said: “The DFI Minister is very supportive of the need for more investment in the infrastructure of the North West to facilitate regional balance, inwards investment in the area and to make it a better place for those who choose to live there. The meeting was an opportunity for us to showcase the partnership approach we take in relation to regeneration and development and our commitment to working with to deliver on projects to benefit the North West.”


Speaking after the meeting Minister John O’Dowd said: “Our discussions re-affirmed our commitment to ensuring the development of the North West region. For too long the North West region has been left behind, now is the time to change that through our shared commitment to work together. We all want to see transport linkages strengthened. We are fully supportive of increased cross-border collaboration. My Department will play its part in taking forward the many infrastructure projects that are planned for the region and in doing so we will contribute to the development of the region.”