McGuinness: “It’s fair to say [A5 upgrade is] back on track again”

No, really!!  Following the Irish Government’s decision to postpone their £400million contribution to the £850million cost of the proposed A5 upgrade, the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers announced they would be seeking “maximum clarity on this issue” in talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, while they were in Dublin today.

After the meeting, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, was accentuating the positive to UTV’s Ken Reid.

“It’s far from dead,” Mr McGuinness told UTV. “I think, as a result of our discussions today, we’re greatly heartened by what we’ve heard and we look forward to completing some work ourselves and the Taoiseach over the course of the coming days.”

“It’s fair to say it’s back on track again,” he added.

[So much for that ‘windfall’ then! – Ed]  The NI First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, was less effusive – watch the UTV video.

Mr Robinson explained Dublin’s contribution would be “re-profiled rather than lost”.

The BBC report has some further clarity on the details

The Irish government has agreed to provide a total of 50 million euros (£42m).

The first 25m euros will be provided for 2015 and the second in 2016.  [added emphasis]

Full details are expected to be announced at a North-South ministerial meeting next week.

That’s into a whole new budget period for the Northern Ireland Executive.  Assuming nothing else intervenes…  [Some things never change… – Ed]

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  • Tony Baloney

    €50 million is a bit of a climbdown from €400 million. It might pay for the signs and lights.

  • Pete Baker

    It was £400million. It’s now £42million. Potentially…

  • Pete Baker

    And I’m sure the Sinn Féin TDs will appreciate the gesture…

  • sherdy

    First expenditure should be for a set of traffic lights so we know whether the scheme is ‘go’ or ‘stop’!

  • Los Lobos

    You really gotta hand it to the “brothers grim”, when it comes to smoke and mirrors they always come up with the goods. Will that worthless peice of information be enough to keep the SF punters happy tomorrow night at the SF West Tyrone Dinner dance at the Mellon Country Inn (situated right on the A5)? – No. Will it be enough to keep the developers who put all their eggs in the A5 basket on the word of SF that the project was a “cast iron” deal, content? – No. The bottom line is that no amount of spin can get SF/DUP out of chokie on this one. This project will be used against them as an example of their inability to deliver for the people of West Tyrone and Northern Ireland in general.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Am I not right in thinking that the republic was only paying a small amount in the next four years anyway?

  • Mick Fealty

    Yes. Men says it might jus cover fixing the the Derry Strabane section.

  • IJP


    Define “fixing”…!

    £84m (assuming an equal NI pot) gets you 5-6 miles of new dual carriageway at current prices, all things being equal. Spend it between Derry and Strabane and you’ve just spent £84m on creating a ridiculous bottle neck that we know will never be fixed and doesn’t even reach Strabane anyway! I predict a couple of crawler lanes…

    It’s a farce – but answer me this, why are our journalists unwilling or unable to make such an obvious challenge? The way Ken Reid is reporting it, you’d almost think they were building the whole thing with an extra lane for good measure!

    Let’s leave aside the fact it’s not OFMDFM’s decision in the first place…

  • Drumlins Rock

    great, all they have managed to do is string along the gulible for a while longer and prolong the stress of those worst affected. Have been trying to tell them to get on with their lives but stupid stunts like this just screws them up again. Thanks Peter.

  • Tony Baloney

    Enda Kenny hasn’t a pot to piss in so I would be doubtful of ever seeing any of this money especially if there is no apparent return on investment during his tenure as Taoiseach.

    Is there any money in the NIO pot to make up the shortfall? The Two Amigos won’t want to lose face over this as they’ve delivered nothing else of note.

  • Los Lobos

    There is also the small matter of how the deal was premised in the first place, ie a road from Dublin to Derry with no stops inbetween! It was a case of “full duck or no dinner”, now we are being told you can have a very small crust of mouldy bread in 2016, with plenty of towns and villages to pass through if you wish to go from city to city! I honestly believe that Enda Kenny is doing this to wind up Sinn Fein and spoil their upcoming one hundred year celebration because they attacked Fine Gael during their disasterous Presidential campaign. Either way the project is dead in the water full stop.

  • iluvni

    So, are we to expect year after year of Sinn Fein stymying other road developments, such as the A2, because they are so determined to pretend that their own vanity scheme is still on track?

  • dwatch

    Distance between Strabane and Derry is 11.51 miles compared to 55 miles for the whole A5 road between Aughnacloy & Derry.

  • Drumlins Rock

    This is not a road from Derry to Dublin for starters, less than 500 cars per day (surveyed pre bust btw) travel from the border to Derry, even less of those came from Dublin, for those that do it would shave less than 20 minutes of their journey, limited improvements would probably still achieve half of that.
    I welcome the wee bit of money from Dublin, if it ever comes, but lets spend it on the bits that are needed.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Back on track?

    So the upgrade money going to the rail then?

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Let’s face it, the south don’t give a crap about NI and why would they – they’ve enough issues to deal with. Marty can spin this whatever way he wants but the days of Britain and Ireland splashin the cash are long gone.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Let’s face it, the south don’t give a crap about NI and why would they?

    Erm a poor reflection on the mutuality of not only North South trade, but West East trade. For example any petrol pump attendant or retailer in the Region 1 area (counties between Donegal and Louth) would be hit severely if the North continues to struggle to survive economically.

  • Cynic2

    Not much more one can say is there

  • IJP


    Well, the theory behind the A5 upgrade was not that it was required on the basis of current numbers, but rather on the potential to increase the numbers making that entire journey (thus linking Derry better to a booming Dublin). I could just about have bought that in 2007, given that it was all being done for half price effectively.

    However, Dublin was not doing this out of charity: it had benefits to Donegal and was intended to link to a similar upgrade of the Strabane-Letterkenny road (and you thought Derry-Aughnacloy was pushing it…) – that link was abandoned immediately by the new FG-led government in June.

    It thus makes no sense for Dublin essentially to donate money for the construction of a small bit of dual carriageway from Derry to Strabane. Its own taxpayers get almost nothing out of it. It would, essentially, amount to borrowing money from the UK to spend in the UK – an obvious nonsense, even by the standards of Irish politicians!

  • lamhdearg

    “It’s fair to say [A5 upgrade is] back on track again”, no it is not, its a walffle, bordering on a lie, and as IJP points out Our press at the point of contact, have neither the wit or the balls to point this out, its not just the voted in types up on the hill, that are not pulling their weight. slugger thread writers how about a thread on Our so called reporters, no names of course, that would be impolite.

  • iluvni
  • IJP


    Spot on. So much for the self-appointed “Opposition”!

    I’ve come to the conclusion that they do have the wit, just not the balls (with some notable exceptions – for example, Henry McDonald is spot on on today’s Tele).

    I’m quite serious when I say that is really dangerous for democracy.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Had to happen. Marty’s very popular down south you know. Apparently.

  • Bungditin

    “It’s fair to say it’s back on track again,”

    Naw it isnae!

  • Mary Anna

    Jes, Pinnochio back on track – how long does it take for a nose to travel from Dublin to Stormont? Spin doctor at it again ! He thought he was just in time to be president of state and have the A5 just in time for him to drive down to Aras ! Pinnochio United Ireland 2016 LOL. Double standards again, wishful thinking. Its all down hill from here on doc. Ireland was told by Pinnochio that he got 14, 000 jobs for NI. I live here where are they because i would love to know- jobs for the boys girls friends and families? The only ones that prosper out of their dirty little grubby war is the dysfunctional family the ps/f and dup. Time for those Godfathers to be taken up for war crimes, it is your civil rights to claim from them, they are an institution – they are controlling the country.Working politicians earning more than the country knows. PS/F is a very wealthy organisation, time to cough up and pay back what they took away from the families of lost loved ones- injured murdered and the disappeared so many blown to bits , young ones beat into submission – suffer as a result of a failed united Ireland, PIRA promised. They have an empire hit them hard were it hurts there pockets!

  • DT123

    Build a proper bypass around Omagh and it will do rightly.

  • socaire

    Were are there pockets, O Mary Anna?

  • dwatch

    Mr Wilson said because the executive budget only ran until 2014-15 its contribution to the A5 would now be spent elsewhere.

    Read more:

  • Little James

    McGuiness sees “no reason” why the A5 upgrade cant be completed, i can see 350 million reasons.

  • IrelandNorth

    The ambivalence of the southern Irish government to the A5 upgrade betrays their self-seeking partitionist mentality. The A5, like the consitutional imperative of reunification, is very much a road less travelled for them. But then, Sammy Wilson is also glad of the excuse to avoid engaging in purposeful north-south structures. If we’re all serious about genuine national peace and reconciliation on our island and between these islands, we need to put our shekels where our pious political platitudes are. Cough up – Enda!

  • Republic of Connaught


    It betrays nothing but an empty pocket. Hospitals etc.. are closing across the South. Pumping vast amounts of money into roads, in the north, south, east or west of the country isn’t a priority.