The above photo is of Bernish glen, outside Sixmilecross. It is named after the notorious highway man Shane Bernagh Donnelly. He used these hills to launch daring raids on carriages travelling between Dublin and Derry during the 17th century. He was adored by the poor as he would generally only steal from the rich and often give to the needy, our very own Robin Hood. He was eventually captured by the English red coats and executed.
This week In Stormont a budget was brought before the assembly, supported only by the DUP/SF alliance. Within it is the allocation of £229 million earmarked for the A5WTC. I will not go into details what the advantages and disadvantages of this project are here but here are some questions I think we should be asking the Executive.
1.Where does this money come from and is the maintenance budget of existing roads affected?
2. What is the current and projected volume of traffic for the A5 compared to other schemes in the UK that have been given a dual carriageway upgrade?
3. What is the accident rate on this road compared to others in N Ireland?
4. What is the predicted time saved on travel that this money will gives us?
5. What are the environmental costs?
6. Have any other types of upgrades been considered for the A5.
My fear is that the A5WTC is more to do with politics than what is needed.
It seems that four centuries later the tables have turned. The establishment of DUP/SF, just like the red coats were, have become the highway men but not in a Robin Hood way.