Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd, Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald have outlined their joint commitment to delivering projects that will bring social and economic benefits for communities across the north.

The Ministers were speaking during a visit to the site of the proposed A4 Enniskillen Bypass following recent confirmation of funding to deliver the scheme and early release of £12.5m funding from the Mid South West Growth Deal ahead of Heads of Terms being agreed and Deal signing.

Minister O’Dowd said:

“Investing in our infrastructure is critical if we are to build the foundations for better rural and urban communities.  Providing more efficient, accessible and inclusive transport options and removing traffic congestion from our cities, towns and villages will help to support the creation of new business and leisure opportunities.  It all starts with infrastructure and the Enniskillen Bypass is an example of the type of project that can bring about all of these benefits.  The 2.1km bypass will improve connectivity by creating a new transport link and will enhance the town centre environment by improving air quality and noise levels.  Importantly it will also provide 3.5km of active travel measures for walking and cycling extending along the Dublin and Derrylin roads.

“My Department has worked diligently over recent years to complete all the statutory processes for this significant project.  I am pleased that following the Finance Minister’s proposal last month the confirmation of Executive funding, alongside the early release of funding from the Mid South West Growth Deal, will allow us to now commence procurement with a view to construction commencing in late spring/early summer next year.

“I will continue to work closely with my Executive colleagues and council partners to deliver projects that will bring about positive changes for communities across the north.”

Minister Archibald said:

“Tackling regional imbalance is the key to prosperity and I was pleased, following my proposal, the Executive agreed the additional funding for the A4 Enniskillen Bypass. The project will help to provide a new transport link to the town and improve the connection between the A4 Dublin Road and the A4 Sligo Road. This vital investment, through the Mid South West Growth Deal, will be transformational for the Mid South West region and will help to attract new investment, which will benefit both local businesses and communities.

“I would like to thank all those involved in bringing the project to this point.”

Councillor Errol Thompson, Chair of the Mid South West Region Governance Steering Group, said:

“I am delighted that funding has been secured to progress the construction of the A4 Enniskillen Southern Bypass Scheme.  It is also welcoming that the Northern Ireland Executive has demonstrated flexibility and commitment to the scheme by agreeing to the early release of the £12.5 million investment from the Mid South West Growth Deal in advance of the signing of the Deal’s Heads of Terms.

“This is a significant scheme for Enniskillen and the wider Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area as it will help to improve connectivity, travel times and safety on this busy road.  One of the pillars of the Mid South West Growth Deal is Enabling Infrastructure which is critical to driving economic growth and helping the region realise its growth potential.

“This scheme will contribute to the achievement of this and will be a welcome boost to the local economy as it will unlock opportunities for businesses and communities in Enniskillen and the surrounding towns and villages.”

The Mid South West (MSW) Region is a collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council.  Having confirmed their intention to develop a proposition and work towards a Growth Deal to boost economic growth and deliver a step change to the future prospects of the collective MSW Region, the MSW Partner Councils launched a Regional Economic Strategy (RES) in 2020.  The MSW Region Growth Deal is a £252 million investment in the region by the NI Executive and UK Government and will make a significant contribution towards realising the ambition of the RES to supercharge the growth of the collective economy and ensure inclusive prosperity.