Sinn Fein Executive Ministers have been challenged to “get their acts in gear” and make it a priority to have the roads network fully operational for next year’s Balmoral Show.
Jenny Palmer, who was recently appointed the UUP’s spokesperson on Infrastructure, threw down the gauntlet to the Sinn Fein ministers for Finance and Infrastructure, after the organisers of the annual Balmoral Show unveiled the news it will be a four-day event from 2017.
Mrs Palmer said: “While Balmoral Show is quite rightly recognised as one of the premier shows, not just in Northern Ireland, but right across the United Kingdom, and the move to the Maze site has been a huge success for Ulster’s agricultural industry, that move has brought a roads network nightmare.
“The country roads around the Maze simply cannot cope with the volume of traffic and this year, many media outlets carried horrendous stories of folk waiting hours to get out of the car parks.
“We want the Balmoral Show to be remembered for what it is – one of the best agricultural showpieces in the UK, not the seemingly endless traffic jams.
“In this respect, the two Sinn Fein Ministers on the Stormont Executive – namely those for Finance and Infrastructure – urgently need to get their acts in gear and have a workable roads network in place in time for the 2017 event.
“These ministers have a moral duty to the people of Northern Ireland to provide the necessary funding and roads development to make this a reality.
“This is not the time for empty rhetoric from this Sinn Fein duo – we not actions; we demand that the Balmoral Show roads network becomes a major priority for the Stormont Executive.
“At the earliest possible opportunity, I will seek a meeting with these two Sinn Fein Ministers to ensure that a realistic roads network has been implemented, and I will be constantly challenging them in the Stormont Chamber to also make sure there is real progress on this much-needed project,” said Mrs Palmer.