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Infrastructure minister to meet with PSNI to discuss interim safety measures on A5 following latest road deaths


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Department for Infrastructure yet to respond to the findings of a public inquiry that concluded last year

Kamile Vaicikonyte (17) and 19-year-old Jamie Moore became the most recent victims of the A5 road between Aughnacloy and Londonderry on Tuesday night.

The pair died following a crash at Doogary Road, Omagh. Four people have now died in just eight weeks as a result of crashes on the route.

Minister John O’Dowd said his Department would meet with the PSNI to discuss any safety measures that could be put in place in the interim.

“I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the two young people who lost their lives following a collision on the A5 on Tuesday night,” he said.

“Too many lives have been cut short or forever changed by serious injury as a result of road traffic collisions on the A5.

“I have requested a meeting with senior PSNI officers to discuss serious road safety concerns along this road and what can be done in the interim, until such times as I have made my announcement on how to progress the A5 upgrade.”

Kamile Vaicikonyte (17) and Jamie Moore (19) died in Tuesday night’s crash

PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher told the Policing Board yesterday that all options would be considered for dealing with road deaths.

“Nothing is off the table as to what we will do to address this epidemic we are seeing on our roads.

“Not just here, on the island of Ireland. I know An Garda Síochána are having similar challenges with regards to road deaths. The figures are incredibly worrying.

“We will do everything within our power to make sure, whether through speed reduction, more visibility, that we do our part in making sure that we prevent these tragedies from occurring again.”

Mr Boutcher however warned that budget pressures were limiting what the police could do to respond.

“Failure to properly resource the PSNI is beginning to have a serious impact and is becoming increasingly noticeable,” he said.

PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Melanie Jones confirmed the PSNI would meet the Department.

“Chief Superintendent Sam Donaldson and myself are meeting with Department for Infrastructure representatives to address road safety issues which remains a key priority for policing,” she said.

More than 50 people have now died on the A5 since a £1.6bn upgrade plan was announced in 2007. Besieged by legal challenges, the project has still not yet been given the green light.

A public inquiry into the project, held at Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, concluded in June 2023. DfI have been considering their response to its findings since then.

Earlier this year, the Irish Government committed €600m (£513m) in cross-border funding to the building of the road, which forms part of the main carriageway from Dublin to Derry.

The move restored a tranche of funding which was withdrawn by then-Irish Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in 2011 amid sweeping budget cuts.

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