WE’RE on the road to nowhere, running up bills and on a highway to the high court…
Yes, the A5 saga rolls on like a juggernaut sloughing off the carriageway, the road that goes nowhere is now costing more than a tank fuel of diesel – with land purchases alone costing almost £800,000.
Now, Minister for trains, drains, and automobiles – a.k.a. Minister for Regional Development – Danny Kennedy might have been safely buckled in ahead of the latest ruling from the judiciary; who let’s face it have a nice road trundling into North Down.
But buckled in or not, the defeat threw the entire A5 project spinning off like a rear wheel drive car on ice in March.
Now, the £300m upgrade to the road between Aughnacloy and Derry~Londonderry is stalled, with the ignition unable to turn any further until an assessment on the impact on the rivers Foyle and Finn ‘Special Areas of Conservation’.
Still, not a man to twiddle his thumbs in a traffic jam, Minister Kennedy has fired up the turbocharged Ministerial car and torn up the tarmac to meet the Ulster Farmers’ Union and other interested parties to tell them just how good the A5 will be when it is made a dual carriageway.
But, as we pondered the problem stuck in an interminable line of barely moving traffic, like the bull bars on a farmer’s 4x4, it hit us! The A5 project is linked to Tyrone in the westerly part of Norn Iron, this must be a project to line the pockets of lawyers...
Bear with us here: Fermanagh also in the west is amongst the areas earmarked for ‘fracking’, the hydraulic fracturing of mother earth to release gases that she has previously held tight in her grasp.
With these two projects destined to be caught in claim and counter-claim, reviews, enquiries and judicial pronouncements, the region’s economy will receive a massive boost as solicitors and barristers vie for the best profile coming out of the courts, whilst trying not to smile about the tens of thousands they’ll be trousering...
Shrine to anything you want
NORN Iron seeks controversy where it can find it – like a rabbid red-top newspaper editor faced with getting headlines without hacking, everyone in this wee outpost of Europe seems to like a bit of bother.
It has even been alleged by seasoned members of the commentariat that some people will travel a long way to be offended.
This week, the proposed centre for peace and reconciliation had all sorts of people running to find a media crew to tell them that the plan was great/shocking/insulting and all things that wind up people determined to be wound up.
Touted as being four times the size of Canary Wharf and with the promise of 5,000 permanent jobs, there are petitions against it, praise for it and generally division lines where one seeks division lines.
However, there is one promise that is being praised on BBC Radio Ulster, that is the location of the annual farmers’ jamboree – the Balmoral Show – with marquees sprouting up quicker than rain-drenched spuds.
Clamping the way
SINN Féin will be pleased to note this week that at least one government department – and one overlorded by an Ulster Unionist minister - is taking strides towards collapsing the border.
Yes, the Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy is allowing Norn Iron’s traffic wardens to authorise clamping cars from the Republic for unpaid parking fines.
With this all-island approach to parking fines, Sinn Féin may well be raising a glass to toast Mr Kennedy, however, we believe there is a more plausible explanation.
It is the latest stage in the federation of traffic wardens’ bid to take over the world – eventually all our cars will be immobilised until we all agree to a totalitarian state of traffic wardens…