Minister cancels Moneymore traffic talks 'at last minute'

Moneymore traffic congestion
Moneymore traffic congestion

Mid Ulster Ulster Unionist MLA, Sandra Overend, has reacted angrily to the Roads Minister’s last minute cancellation of a long arranged meeting to discuss the traffic situation in Moneymore, and residents desire to see a bypass for the village.

She had been due to meet Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard earlier this week but the meeting was apparently called off at the last minute.

“I am incredibly dissatisfied that Roads Minister Chris Hazzard MLA has cancelled a long arranged meeting to discuss the strongly held concerns about the volume, speed and congestion of traffic in Moneymore," she said.

“What is more disappointing is that this cancellation came at the last minute, on a Friday afternoon, with the meeting having been scheduled to take place on Monday. Indeed, it was only when I contacted the Minister’s office to confirm the attendees when I received a short email from a member of his staff to say that the meeting had been ‘cancelled due to the political situation.’

“People in Moneymore, residents, local business owners, schools and parents, are understandably exasperated by the current traffic situation, and at a recent public meeting in my office spoke powerfully about how they feel their village ‘has been forgotten about’ and ‘neglected’ while other areas of Mid Ulster have seen their road infrastructure upgraded. Parking facilities, traffic speed, difficulties HGVs and buses face negotiating their way through the village, and the daily tailbacks have all been overlooked, as well as the dangers to pedestrians.

“The Roads Minister, despite the fact that the meeting had been arranged in November, and that he remains in post until polling day, has let the people of Moneymore down by refusing to take the time to listen to their views. I had planned to bring along a number of residents to the meeting to put forward their concerns, but they have been denied that opportunity by a Sinn Fein Minister who seems to want to pick and choose what parts of his job he is willing to do.”

A spokesperson for the Infrastructure Minister said, "Unfortunately the Minister’s diary commitments changed at short notice which resulted in the meeting being cancelled. Mrs Overend has been sent an email today advising her that DFI officials would be happy to meet with her to discuss her concerns."