‘Seamus Heaney would support A6’, says brother

There are proposals for a new road in Seamus Heaney's beloved south Londonderry
There are proposals for a new road in Seamus Heaney's beloved south Londonderry

Seamus Heaney would have supported the upgrade of the main Belfast to Londonderry road, his brother Hugh has said.

Hugh Heaney’s comments are in stark contrast to those from some objectors, who say the road would ‘desecrate’ the landscape made famous by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.

Work has begun on the A6 project which is expected to cost about £160m.

Court papers have been lodged seeking permission to challenge the upgrade, as the disputed section cuts through what some have termed ‘Heaney country’ in and around his home town of Bellaghy, County Londonderry.

However, Hugh Heaney told the BBC the objections were without basis.

“Heaney’s country is there and Heaney country will be there forever,” he said.

“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.

“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.

Actor Stephen Rea, who helped establish the Field Day Theatre Company with Seamus Heaney in 1980, had recently said that building a new road through the landscape that inspired Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney would be “desecration”.

“Do you have to choose a place that has been dignified by the greatest poet we’ve ever had?

“Are we content that people will come here to see the locations for Game of Thrones, is that where we are placing our imaginative level? This is a great poet, we need to preserve his landscape,” said Mr Rea.