A5 road upgrade: ‘Everyone who has lost a loved one on that road will be happy’

Pledge to invest €600m on North dual carriageway upgrade is welcomed by crash victims’ families and pressure groups

Memorials line the stretch of road between Derry and Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, that has claimed the lives of almost 50 people since a dual carriageway upgrade was first announced by Stormont back in 2007.

In one year alone, between October 2021 and October 2022, 10 people died on the A5, according to official figures.

The Government’s pledge to invest €600 million towards its major rebuild – the new road’s estimated costs now sit at around €1.9 billion – have been welcomed by families and pressure groups.

Marie O’Brien, secretary of crash-bereavement charity After Life, said she hopes the funding from the Shared Island Project will save lives.


“It has given us hope that the road will be built, and built quickly. Everyone who has lost a loved one on that road before and after 2006 will be happy,” she said.

Ms O’Brien became involved with the charity after her daughter Caoimhe died in a crash outside Strabane in 2016.

“There was nothing available for us after Caoimhe died. Since then, I have spoken in Stormont and deal with families on both sides of the Border who have lost loved ones. And it helps to help others. That way, Caoimhe did not die in vain.”

Elsewhere, the €50 million funding pledged by Dublin for the redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast has given the GAA “confidence” that the new stadium will be built in time to host the Euro 2028 football tournament, according to Ulster GAA’s Stephen McGeehan.

Preparation work to clear the derelict stadium on the Andersonstown Road began on Monday in time – despite overall funding to meet the project’s escalating bill not being secured.

The pledge to greenlight further funding to complete the Narrow Water bridge project comes after a 50-year campaign by residents either side of the Border.

The bridge will connect the seaside town of Warrenpoint in Co Down with Omeath village in Co Louth – two areas of outstanding natural beauty surrounded by the Mournes, Ring of Gullion and Cooley Mountain ranges.

Campaigner Aidan O’Hare described the economic and tourist implications as “absolutely endless”.

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