SEAMUS HEANEY’S FAMILY BACK A6 DERRY TO BELFAST ROAD UPGRADE
A brother of Seamus Heaney has said his family are fully behind the upgrade of the main Derry to Belfast road, near his native Bellaghy.
Work has begun on the A6 project which is expected to cost about £160 million over the coming years..
Court papers have been lodged seeking permission to challenge the upgrade, as the disputed section cuts through landscape made famous by the Nobel Laureate.
However, Hugh Heaney said their objections are without foundation.
“Heaney’s country is there and Heaney country will be there forever,” said Hugh Heaney.
“I have no objection whatsoever going where it’s going, it’s going through Heaney country but it will not do Heaney country any harm at all.
“Anahorish is still there, Lagan’s Road is still there, Mossbawn is still there, strand of Lough Beag is not even touched, so the A6 is doing a great job taking away bottlenecks for thousands of people travelling every day.”
Court papers have been lodged at the High Court in Belfast seeking leave for a judicial review of the decision to proceed with part of the scheme at Toomebridge.
A judge will now decide whether the case moves to a hearing.
The route was picked after a public inquiry almost 10 years ago.
The A6 is often gridlocked at rush-hour leading to long delays for commuters.
The Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazard has said he believes the planned route is the right one.
Environmentalists claim the new stretch will impact important habitat for overwintering swans close to Lough Beg, near Toomebridge.
However, Hugh Heaney was in no doubt that his brother would be in favour of the road.
“Seamus would have thought the same thing, that it was very good.
“It takes years for these things and finally after six or seven years it’s coming and people who live there are happy.
“I think the local community are all for it, I haven’t met anyone in the locality who has any objections whatsoever.
“Roads can come but Heaney’s country is still there and will never go away ever,” he said.