Senator Mary M. White: I wish to have on the record my abhorrence at the disgusting behaviour by the Daesh group in Paris on Friday evening. Hopefully East and West, the United States and Russia, can work together and put their power struggles behind them to try and bring about a resolution to this most serious issue in the Middle East.
I welcome yesterday’s agreement and the reference made in this House this morning to the walls coming down. It is much easier to take down the physical walls than it is to take down the walls and barriers in people’s hearts. The real walls are in the hearts and how long will it take to break those barriers down?
I welcome yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh, that an extra €25 million will be allocated to the A5 road project bringing a total of €75 million in capital funding from the Government to the project for 2007-19. As a member of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement I draw attention to the N2 section of the A5. The N2 from the Border to Clontibret is about 18 miles long which is approximately 28 km. This road is in dire condition and I have pleaded that the Government would allocate the modest sum of €1.5 million to narrow the road alignment from 400 m to 100 m and to allow the route planning to proceed to the next stage.
I had a private meeting, along with other members of the committee, with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Paschal Donohoe. I could not believe that he stuck his heels into the ground in that he could not see the value of a €1.5 million allocation to Monaghan County Council to allow it to define the road exactly and to have the plans ready for when the money is available to start the road building, rather than waiting for the word and to then have to start designing the road. It is absolutely crazy. I congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh. He was chairman of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and was worn out listening to me pushing for this N2 road from the Border to Knocknacloy. It is a very dangerous road. Historical records from the period 1996 to 2009 obtained from An Garda Síochána show a total of 112 personal injury accidents, of which 11 were fatal and 15 resulted in serious injury. If the Government is serious about Northern Ireland, in developing the route from Dublin to the north west and in the social and economic development of the area, then let it give the €1.5 million to Monaghan County Council to proceed and design this N2 road.