A6: Update

Oral Answers to Questions — Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 28th November 2016.

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Photo of Gary Middleton Gary Middleton DUP 3:15 pm, 28th November 2016

T4. Mr Middleton asked the Minister for Infrastructure for an update on the A6 upgrade following the recent court decision and to state whether work on any section of the A6 will be able to begin in the meantime. (AQT 549/16-21)

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

Not a problem. As I said last week, while I was disappointed, of course, that Justice Maguire came to the decision he did, I was not overly shocked or surprised, given that the bar is quite low when you are applying for leave to challenge that. I was pleased that he rejected five of the six grounds of the appeal. My Department will very speedily get our papers into the courts. I even welcome the remarks from Justice Maguire when he recognised the strategic importance of that piece of investment and that we need to have a speedy resolution to it. I am absolutely confident that, when it comes to the substantial hearing in the new year, the Department will be successful.

On the back of the decision, I took the opportunity to discuss with officials the technical possibilities of moving forward with the Moneynick section, which the Member, as a commuter, will know all too well. That is something we are actively now looking at. Preliminary work is ongoing on the stretch. That work will continue on that stretch at the very least. If we can progress with works within the legal contracts that have been agreed, we absolutely will.

Photo of Danny Kennedy Danny Kennedy Deputy Speaker

I call Mr Middleton for a supplementary question.

Photo of Gary Middleton Gary Middleton DUP

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker

[Interruption.]

Photo of Danny Kennedy Danny Kennedy Deputy Speaker

Order. I ask those Members with penetrating whispers to be a little quieter.

Photo of Gary Middleton Gary Middleton DUP

Thank you, and I thank the Minister for his response. Will he give a commitment that whatever finance has been allocated to the A6 will be secure and will not be spent elsewhere, as other Members suggested?

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

Absolutely. The upgrade of the A6 is an Executive flagship project so, in short, the money is going nowhere else.