Ross only interested 'in projects close to his heart' claims FF spokesperson

Robert Troy

Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy says that the Minister for Transport Shane Ross appears to be more interested “in projects close to his heart” as it is claimed that cost overruns at the national children's hospital could require the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to find savings of €30 million in its capital budget this year.

His comments come as it has emerged that a payment of €27 million earmarked for the Dublin to Derry A5 road upgrade jointly funded by the Irish and British governments will be delayed due to cost overruns at the hospital.

Mr Troy said that the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly had also had an impact on the A5 project - “we can thank Sinn Féin for that”.

He said that Mr Ross should be doing everything in his power to ensure the construction of the A5 road “which has been promised since 2007”.

“I don’t believe the rationale of the department. I am concerned we will see more cuts. There shouldn’t have been over runs in the national children’s hospital, that’s because of poor management.

This road project (A5) is crucially important for connectivity. Instead of accepting this, every effort should be made by Shane Ross.

Mr Troy said he was very concerned that there was going to be more reduced expenditure by the Department of Transport.

“Ross should be engaging with his UK counterparts and with civil servants in Northern Ireland.”

Last year the Government had announced it would spend an extra €286m on roads and other transport infrastructure in 2019.

The total capital budget for projects in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for 2019 is €1.61 billion.

The savings are part of the €100 million needed to deal with the spiralling costs at the national children’s hospital.

It is on a list of savings that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will bring to Cabinet as part of the Government’s efforts to shave €100m from the 2019 capital budget.

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