Dunclug deserves priority - McKay

CONFIRMATION from Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie that there's no cash to build a new link road through Dunclug has been described as "severely disappointing" by SF MLA for the area, Daithi McKay.

The North Antrim Assemblyman says that the DSD Minister has a duty to prioritise the worst off areas in society and ensure that important work in areas such as Dunclug “continues unabated”.

Mr McKay was speaking after the Minister announced that funding to carry out the work to build a new link road through the Ballymena estate remains unavailable.

In response to an Assembly question from Mr McKay about the completion of the new link road as outlined in the Dunclug Action Plan, she stated: “The Dunclug Link Road forms part of Phase Two of the Housing Executive’s Environmental Improvement Scheme for the area.

“Unfortunately, due to the collapse of the land and property market, the resources for schemes such as this are not currently available.

“As such the Housing Executive are not currently able to state when this scheme will begin, however they remain committed to it and will keep the situation under close review”.

Mr McKay said: "Locally people will be severely disappointed at the news that the work to build a Dunclug Link Road, which would have radically changed the layout of the estate has been cut by the DSD Minister.

deprived

“Dunclug, statistically is a deprived area, and as such work here should be prioritised. The Minister should be putting those worst off first in my opinion and unfortunately the will does not seem to be there in finishing this job.

"I am beginning to wonder whether we will ever see money being made available to complete this project,” Mr McKay added.

“The Dunclug Action Plan started off well and was full of promise but the fact is that the SDLP's Minister has not made a commitment to make funding available for this area. It should be prioritised for very obvious reasons and I would urge Ms Ritchie to ensure that the Dunclug Action Plan is again prioritised to ensure that people's quality of life here is radically improved.

“It is disgraceful that the Plan has been allowed to falter,” he said.