Work believed to be due to begin this Monday (January 11) on a section of road between Derrylin and Bellanaleck which has been "left in a state of neglect for years" will not start until March.

SDLP Councillor for Erne West, Adam Gannon, said that funding for the next phase of work at Derryhowlaght on the Derrylin Road has been secured and allocated which will allow the road to be widened and realigned.

"This is very welcome news after the road being left in a state of neglect for years. I promised getting it up to standard would be one of my main priorities after my election in 2019.

"The past year I've worked with Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, and the local DfI team to ensure this road was prioritised for funding and completion. This work has come to fruition when DfI confirmed that the funding to allow works to commence was secured," said Councillor Gannon.

"This is good news to everyone who travels the Derrylin Road and I'm looking forward to work starting in the near future."

Sinn Féin Councillor, Chris McCaffrey, also welcomed the work on a road he said has been left in a "disgraceful state" for years.

"The years of delayed work and lack of investment has been a source of great annoyance and disruption, not only to the local community here, but to all around Fermanagh.

"The A509 is after all a main road to Dublin and thoroughfare to Enniskillen, the question must be asked as to why our county is being continually downgraded with no investment and no sense of urgency.

"In a county which doesn't have even one mile of dual carriageway it is not a big ask for a main road to be repaired.

"We are now in the final phases of work, half of the approximate £1.2m required for this work has been granted, to bring in the two tie-in’s and then finally to remove the hill at Derryhawlaght."

Welcoming this announcement Councillor McCaffrey also urged that there can be no more delays and the A509 road must be treated as a priority and be brought up to the standard that motorists and tax payers should expect.

"I will continue to keep pressure on the Department of Infrastructure and the Minister to ensure that the last phase will be brought to completion and the A509 will no longer be known as the Rocky Road to Dublin," he added.

A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesperson said before Christmas: “Due to the difficult ground conditions on the A509 Derrylin Road, fill material has been placed over the past two years in a controlled manner to allow the soft ground to consolidate prior to the commencement of the carriageway construction works.

“DfI is pleased to confirm that £300,000 of funding has become available to initiate the commencement of the first phase of the road construction early in 2021, with work initially focused at either end of the scheme. A detailed work programme for this phase has yet to be agreed with the contractor. The Department will continue to seek additional funding to enable the scheme to be completed at the earliest possible opportunity.”

An updated statement from the Department received after the newspaper went to print said: “No date has yet been set for the commencement of work on the Derrylin Road. The detailed work programme is still being finalised however it is expected to commence during March.”