‘Build upon A26 work’

North Antrim TUV MLA Jim Allister has challenged the Roads Minister to provide a “quality road” on the A26 further than the “turn-off to Ballycastle”.

Mr Allister was speaking during a debate in the Assembly on tourism when he challeged Minister Danny Kennedy.

“I begin by commending the Minister for the fact that, when he came to office, he grasped the issue of the long-neglected A26 improvement, and steps are now afoot to extend somewhat the dual carriageway up to the Ballycastle junction.

“I suppose that the problem for the Minister is that, when he does something positive like that, he but whets our appetite for more.

“Rather than him thinking that he has done his bit for north Antrim and east Londonderry, I want to disabuse him of that idea and assure him that, collectively, we are looking for more.

“We do not want just a quality road to the turn-off at Ballycastle but a quality dual carriageway right through to Coleraine. That spine road is the key to the opening up of the entire north coast area and the exploitation of its full potential.

“Rather than resting on his laurels — yes, the Minister can collect the accolades for getting something done about the A26 and is entitled to do so — you cause us to want you to finish the job.

“That should be his ambition and his achievement in that regard.

“I also commend the Minister for the manner in which he took an interest in, saw improvements to and is seeing improvements to the railway connection through to Londonderry.

“It is practical issues like that that, as well as the grand gestures like improving the spine structures of the road and the railways, will in fact, bit by bit, make a difference.

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