SDLP deputy leader, Nichola Mallon, is Minister at the Department of Infrastructure and has quite a large in tray as she decides what is her priority after three years of inertia at Stormont. Where the proposed Enniskillen bypass sits in that tray remans to be seen.

With a proposed cost of £35m it is one of the least expensive jobs in the pipeline but other road improvements, such as the A5 between Londonderry and Aughnacloy, Narrow Water Bridge between Co Down and Co Louth appear to be a priority of the new Minister. Both of those projects have been mentioned by Ms Mallon in her first few jobs, along with A6 that links Londonderry to Dungiven and also the York Street Interchange in Belfast.

Water infrastructure is also under Ms Mallon’s control and NI Water have been clear about the problems that exist within the system with £2.5b estimated to be needed to fix it.

The Enniskillen bypass was first mooted in 2011 and speaking at a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in 2019 Divisional Roads Manager Mr David McKinley said:

“Over the past year, good progress continues to be made on a number of a strategic roads infrastructure projects including the Strathroy Link Road. Development work is also continuing on the A5 Londonderry to Ballygawley dualling, Enniskillen Southern Bypass and the A32 Enniskillen to Omagh route.”

However, at the same meeting Mr. McKinley also said that funding was an issue with the maintenance of the current road network a problem, let alone the starting of any new projects: “This continues to be the case for 2019-20. Our allocation falls well short of meeting our needs. It should enable the maintenance of drinking water and sewerage networks, but the continued provision of public transport services will be challenging. Similarly the maintenance of the road network will be problematic, given its continuing deterioration and increases in raw material costs.”