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Further blow for Seskinore engineering firm
The Sinn Féin MP made the comments after it was announced that the middle section of the planned A5 Western Transport Corridor between Strabane and Omagh would not benefit from the £330 million of funding announced for two sections of the project on Tuesday.
Despite Finance Minister Sammy Wilson and Roads Minister Danny Kennedy’s predication that more than 2,000 jobs stand to be created in the construction sector, the announcement came as a blow to PT McWilliams, Sisk and Roadbridge, who were originally awarded the joint contract for the middle section of the project in 2009.
Last October Seskinore civil engineering firm, PT McWilliams went into administration with debts of up to £18 million.
At the time, the accountancy firm appointed as administrators BDO, named the A5 as one of the lucrative contracts in the pipeline that would enable PT McWilliams, one of the largest employers in the Omagh district, to stay afloat.
But speaking this week, Mr Doherty urged the company not to throw in the towel. “They shouldn’t give up hope. This battle goes on. We are still in dialogue with the Irish Government,” he said.
After backtracking on its original pledge of £400 million for the A5 and A8 road projects in November, the Irish Government has agreed to provide £50 million over 2015 and 2016.
However, Mr Doherty stated that he believed if a longer timetable for payments could be agreed upon, then the Irish Government could commit more money.
“Both the Irish Governments and the Northern Executive have commissioned a report through the NSMC on the reprofiling of the A5.
“The Irish Government have told us their concern was not so much the overall funding package but the time-scale. If they could get a longer time-scale they could well come into play on this,” he affirmed.