Exclusive: Plans for new A6 road through ‘Heaney Country’ facing legal challenge

Scene from a Friends of the Earth NI video showing landscape around Lough Beg
Scene from a Friends of the Earth NI video showing landscape around Lough Beg

A legal challenge will be launched this week over the route of the new A6 dual carriageway through ‘Heaney Country’, the Mail has learned.

“Friends of the Earth is in communication with people who will launch a legal challenge this week,” FoE Northern Ireland Director James Orr told the paper.

The Moneynick Road on the A6, which is being upgraded

The Moneynick Road on the A6, which is being upgraded

“It is late in the day for a challenge... the Heaney Centre grand opening will bring added impetus to this campaign. The Seamus Heaney HomePlace is a wonderful project and everyone wishes it well.

“It is more than ironic that the work on the road begins at the same time as the opening of the HomePlace. It is breath-taking irony.”

FoENI have campaigned for many years for a rethink on the route the £140m roadway will take from Randalstown to Castledawson taking in the area around Lough Beg which played such a prominent role in Heaney’s poetry.

“This is one of our last great wildernesses. An undisturbed area of wetland. Only a very misguided person would put a road through there.”

A spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council said: “Mid Ulster District Council supports the development of the strategic road network in the Mid Ulster area.

“The council also recognises that with any major road infrastructure project it is important that the environmental impacts are fully considered.

“Addressing adverse impacts, and putting measures in place to mitigate against them, will be particularly important for the A6 road scheme.”