ANOTHER public inquiry will be held into the A5 road dual carriageway scheme, it has been confirmed.
The Department of Infrastructure said that a public inquiry will “help progress the scheme” after the completion of a public consultation process earlier this year.
However, Sinn Féin expressed disappointment at the news believing that it will create a “further delay.”
Speaking after a meeting with officials from the Department on Friday, Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP, Órfhlaith Begley, said, “It is deeply frustrating that a small minority of vested interests are continuing to try to stall the commencement of the A5 against the will of the overwhelming majority of the people here.
“The A5 road upgrade is a vital in order to improve road safety, cut journey times and help stimulate the economy of the wider north west. We are determined to continue to work to see construction begin as soon as possible.”
Ms Begley added that Sinn Féin has requested an urgent meeting with the permanent secretary of the department to discuss the proposed public inquiry and its terms and duration.
Confirming its decision, a spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure said, “Following the quashing of the decision to proceed with the A5WTC scheme in late 2018, the Department has been working at pace to complete the steps to enable a fresh decision on this key scheme.
“These included the publication of an addendum to the existing Environmental Statement in March, followed by a public consultation process that concluded in May.
“The Department received more than 260 responses to that consultation and has now completed its analysis and consideration of all of the representations made. In view of the number and nature of the issues raised, and having considered very careful legal advice, the Department has concluded that a further public inquiry is the route most likely to enable progress on this scheme.
“The Department has written to the Planning Appeals Commission to request a hearing and will be ready to respond and move quickly to the next stage.”