Northern Ireland

Irish government commits reduced funding of £42m to A5

A5 road sign
Image caption The Irish government has already spent £19m on the project

The Irish government has committed itself to a scaled-down funding plan for the A5 road upgrade in Northern Ireland.

It follows a meeting between the Northern Ireland First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the Irish Prime Minister in Dublin.

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.

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

The Irish government was to have provided £400m towards the cost of the A5 Londonderry to Aughnacloy road upgrade, but withdrew from this level of funding earlier in the week.

The total cost of the 55-mile (88km) upgrade - which would create a key cross-border business route linking Dublin to the north west - was to be £850m.

Earlier this week, the Irish Republic's Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said his government remained "politically committed to the A5".

He said he expected work to take place in the future, but £400m was "an enormous commitment and difficult to honour given what we're facing".

In September, the Republic's Department of Transport told the BBC it had already spent £19m on the project.

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff said the A5 was still "very much a live project".

"This is far too important," he said.

"People in the north west - in Tyrone, in Derry and in Donegal - will be left behind in terms of economic competiveness, travel distances to hospital if this project doesn't go ahead."

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