The chairman of the Alternative A5 Alliance (AA5A) has said he has no interest in meeting with West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan following stinging criticism of the group by the SDLP man.
Mr McCrossan has demanded a face-to-face meeting with the opposition group after its latest legal challenge to the new A5 dual carriageway pushed the potential start of construction back into the latter weeks of 2018.
The AA5A’s third High Court challenge to the long delayed project is expected to be heard in June, almost 11 years since the Executive first agreed to proceed with the project in July 2007.
The delay has angered Daniel McCrossan, who has accused the AA5A of “sabotage”, “continued meddling” and of ‘hiding behind legal process and newspaper columns’.
“It is time the AA5A got the message that the majority of people across religious and political divides support the full delivery and development of this important, long-overdue project,” he said.
“The AA5A are a minority and should not fool themselves by thinking that their ridiculous actions and blockages of progress represents the majority of people across counties Tyrone, Derry, Donegal and throughout Northern Ireland.
“For too long, the AA5A have remained in the shadows. I am now calling for them to meet with me face-to-face to explain what their issues are and what their real agenda is.”
But John Dunbar, who chairs the AA5A responded, “We’re not in the business of helping Daniel to cache votes.”
The chairman admitted he was “irritated” by some of Mr McCrossan’s comments, accusing him of “vicious attacks” and “inaccuracies”.
“I don’t think we will be in the business of meeting him, I think that’s just a vote caching exercise on his behalf,” he said.
However the chairman said he had not yet discussed the matter with the rest of the AA5A committee.
“It’s something we will not rush at anyway,” he added.
Mr Dunbar said the group is currently preparing for the upcoming High Court challenge, stating that 90 per-cent of funding is already in place for the Alliance’s legal costs.
In 2013, Mr Justice Stephens upheld one of the AA5A’s six challenges at the High Court.
It’s understood that the June challenge will comprise as many as ten points, including the fact that the final green light was given without a minister in place.