LOCAL political representatives are confident the new A5 dual carriageway will proceed as planned despite a fresh legal challenge to the project being mounted.
On Friday a senior official at the Department for Infrastructure confirmed that a legal challenge on the notice to proceed for the A5 Western Transport Corridor has been received.
The department has indicated that it will oppose the latest legal challenge to the project.
The road, which will link Derry to Aughnacloy, was originally given the go-ahead by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2007 but for the last decade has been delayed by legal challenges from the Alternative A5 Alliance (AAA5) and funding issues.
This latest legal challenge is also understood to have been initiated by the AAA5.
Work on the first section of the road, between Derry and Strabane, had been due to get underway this month.
Despite the latest setback Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer says he is confident the legal challenge will not be successful.
He explained that Sinn Féin representatives had met with Department of Infrastructure officials on the A5 recently and were assured that the statutory processes have been followed to the letter and that, on this basis, this challenge will not succeed.
Mr McAleer also questioned the timing of the legal action saying, “There is massive anger out there in the community at the latest challenge by this Alternative A5 Alliance, the timing of which is clearly a last throw of the dice to try and block the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland.
“However, I am confident given the ongoing contact Sinn Féin has been having with the department, including the assurances I received in a response I recently received from the permanent secretary, that the department has fulfilled all statutory obligations necessary and is on solid ground to see off this legal challenge.
“We are hopeful of an early court date to get this expedited and that the A5 project will soon be on track.”
Equally critical of the legal challenge is the SDLP’s Daniel McCrossan who said the new road is ‘vital’ for the North West as it has the potential to transform and save lives.
He explained, “It will bring necessary investment and increase connectivity, which creates more jobs for people.
“It will also save the lives of many people, especially young people, as the current road is one of the most dangerous in Ireland. Too many people have lost their lives so far.”
The MLA added, “I have every confidence that the department, under the stewardship of Peter May, will succeed in quashing this application for judicial review.”