Construction of the A5 motorway to connect Dublin and the border counties to Derry must be made a priority for the Irish and British governments, a report has said.
In 2015, the British and Irish governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland committed to providing funding of €57m for the A5 Western Transport Corridor serving the North West.
The Irish Government was to make a €27m contribution to the project but this was deferred because of the cost overrun at the National Children’s Hospital.
In February, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the project has also faced delays due to the stalemate in re-establishing the Northern Ireland Executive.
The Cross-Border Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities report published today examines the impact of Brexit on border communities and makes findings and recommendations to counter the negative effects of Brexit.
Chair of the committee Sean Crowe TD said the committee has recommended the comprehensive upgrading of infrastructure, both transport and broadband, to assist connectivity in the border region.
“Both governments must formally recommit to the long-planned A5-N2 Dublin to Derry dualling project, highlighting its priority nature and repledging what was originally agreed,” he said.
He said overall, uncertainty over what Brexit will be, and its potential impact, makes any assessment of challenges very difficult.
He said EU funding has been “indispensable and transformative, particularly in the area of peace building and reconciliation”.
The committee said there are concerns around the future of EU funding beyond 2020, particularly programmes such as PEACE and INTERREG which have contributed to the peace process.
“The importance of maintaining these programmes was emphasised. In the event that these programmes cannot be maintained, establishing comprehensive successor programmes is essential,” said Mr Crowe.
The committee previously heard how communities along the border both north and south are lagging economically since 2016 in stark contrast to strong economic growth and employment in other parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
To tackle this, the committee recommends the promotion of the border region as alternatives to the Dublin area for Foreign Direct Investment; the promotion of the three border regions as areas of national importance and the comprehensive upgrading of infrastructure, both transport and broadband, to assist connectivity in the region.
It also recommends that if the National Broadband Plan cannot be advanced further to deliver in its current format, an alternative solution is needed for the border region.