Road Maintenance: Rural Newry and Armagh

Oral Answers to Questions — Regional Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 22nd February 2016.

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Photo of Cathal Boylan Cathal Boylan Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 22nd February 2016

T4. Mr Boylan asked the Minister for Regional Development, on behalf of the good people of rural Newry and Armagh, to outline what action she is taking to ensure that the roads in that area are maintained in a safe and roadworthy condition. (AQT 3534/11-16)

Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP

I thank the Member for his question. I met him recently to discuss a range of issues, particularly in the Newry and Armagh area, and I am also aware that he met local Transport NI officials to address his concerns.

As I said in response to previous questions, road maintenance is a priority. Since coming into office, I have ensured that money has been directed to that, along with other maintenance issues. I would like to think that, before the end of the term, he will see the benefits of that additional money. I admit that it is not enough, but it will go some way to address the areas of concern.

Photo of Cathal Boylan Cathal Boylan Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. I thank the Minister for her answer. As part of her legacy and when leaving the old DRD, will she give a commitment and assurance to the House that the money for the 2016-17 budget year will be prioritised for the maintenance of rural roads? In a previous answer, she talked about doing the roads that carry the greatest volume of traffic. She will understand that rural roads have been neglected for many a long day. Will she commit to prioritising that money for rural roads maintenance?

Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP

I thank the Member for his question. The case is well made. As somebody who also represents a rural constituency, I am aware of rural roads requirements, and many in the Chamber would reiterate that. While I can give a commitment that I will seek to get as much money as possible into the roads budget, it very much depends on how local divisions allocate their money and the areas that have the highest priorities. It is about making a case for those areas.