The new chair of the Department for Infrastructure committee has indicated that the A4 Southern Bypass is a priority for her.

Deborah Erskine, Fermanagh and South Tyrone DUP MLA said she has already raised the issue of the A4 Southern Bypass with Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd.

In August 2023, the project had its funding reallocated by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris while Stormont was not functioning and this led to the project being “paused".

Mrs. Erskine said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of delivering for people and getting to grips with the major issues affecting the Department for Infrastructure. Already I have put questions to the Minister in terms of some of the major projects and issues I would like to see delivered. One being the A4 Southern Bypass in my own constituency.

“I want to work to ensure our rural roads are upgraded, potholes fixed, proper investment in our water and sewer treatment networks, key infrastructure projects are delivered, MOT testing and planning delays are reduced, as well as making sure our public transport is effective and efficient to meet the needs of our communities.

Another issue the MLA plans to raise in her role in the All-Ireland Strategic Rail Review which Fermanagh did not include the county upon publication last year.

She said: “In recent months I have been in communication with the Department for Transport at Westminster regarding the All-Island Strategic Rail Review which has not included Fermanagh and also I have asked about the implementation of the Union Connectivity Report which names major infrastructure need.”

All of these issues will be subject to funding explained Mrs. Erskine who said: “Funding to deliver is key and today [Tuesday] we debated in the chamber the need for increased finances for Northern Ireland.

“Proper funding is needed for increased connectivity such as the A5, A4 Southern Bypass and York Street Interchange to name a few priority projects. I am up for the challenge of delivery and will work constructively to deal with these issues and more.”

When asked by this newspaper if work will continue on the A4 Southern Bypass now that Stormont has been restored, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “Minister O’Dowd is currently being briefed on the key issues for the Department which will include the advancement of the Enniskillen Southern Bypass.”