A campaign has been launched to ensure that £277m of funding for Northern Ireland’s infrastructure is spent on improving roads and rail in the west – and particularly in Londonderry.
The ‘Invest in the West’ campaign involves a mass petition to put pressure on Executive ministers ahead of Stormont’s annual budget being revealed in January.
In the UK Government’s November budget it was announced the province would receive £277m of extra funding to invest in infrastructure. This was immediately greeted at Stormont with calls for it to be used to deliver York Street Interchange.
Keen to ensure the North West doesn’t miss out on this funding opportunity, the team behind the successful campaign to include the city in Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid have set up ‘Invest in the West’.
Spokesperson Steve Bradley explained: “Northern Ireland has the worst infrastructure in the UK, so it’s great that over a quarter of a billion pounds has been allocated to improve it. However, none of the previous infrastructure spending in Northern Ireland has been fairly distributed for decades. “Despite containing over 27% of Northern Ireland’s population, the western counties of Londonderry,Tyrone and Fermanagh have only 5% of its motorways (three miles of the M1). Londonderry is the only city on the island that isn’t connected by a motorway or dual carriageway. Meanwhile - of the 53 train stations in Northern Ireland, only three are located west of the Bann.
“Unless the West stands up and fights for what it deserves, history will repeat itself and this new funding will end up in Greater Belfast. So we have set up a petition calling for the entire £277m to be focused on improving the infrastructure in the west.” See:https://www.change.org/p/northern-ireland-assembly-use-the-277m-ni-infrastructurewindfall-to-invest-in-the-west
There is also a Facebook page at : www.facebook.com/InvestInTheWestNI