Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart and Cllr Margaret Tinsley have slammed Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd for his decision to proceed with a feasibility study on a proposal to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on a footbridge at the Bannfoot. The proposed bridge would cross the River Bann between Charlestown village and Columbkile. The DUP representative said the proposal had been rejected on multiple occasions before, and continued to have no support from the community in Charlestown.
Carla Lockhart said:
“This announcement from the Minister beggars belief.
People in Charlestown cannot get an MOT to keep their car on the road. They despair at the state of the road infrastructure in the area. Residents would like greater access to public transport. All pressing issues that fall under the responsibility of John O’Dowd as Infrastructure Minister.
Yet instead of prioritising these issues, and fixing the escalating mess within the Department under his watch, the Minister is instead focusing on feasibility for a bridge that is not wanted by the local community and for which there is absolutely no need. It is a Sinn Fein vanity project, and clearly one that the Minister believes should be paid for by the taxpayer.
People living at the Bannfoot would much prefer the Minister invest money in addressing deficiencies in their local roads, instead of foisting a bridge upon the community for which there is no local support. This proposal has been rejected before, and must be rejected again.
John O’Dowd needs to wise up, and spend his time fixing the problems within DfI, not use the Department for self-indulgent projects that only Sinn Fein want.”