Works will resume on the A4 Enniskillen Southern Bypass in 2025 following an announcement of funding this week.

Following a proposal from Finance Minister Dr. Caoimhe Archibald, the NI Executive has agreed to provide £16.2million of Capital Funding across 2024-25, and 2025-26.

It has also been agreed that £12.5million from the Mid South West Growth Deal can be released early.

An adjournment debate held late on Tuesday evening in the Chamber at Stormont heard the delight of Fermanagh South Tyrone MLAs that funding had been secured for the A4 Enniskillen Bypass.

Announcing the funding, Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said: “The 2.1km bypass will provide a new transport link to the southern side of the town, improving connectivity between the A4 Dublin Road and the A4 Sligo Road.

"The transport link will also provide 3.5km of active travel measures for walking and cycling extending along the Dublin and Derrylin roads.

“It is a project that everybody in my constituency wants to see delivered. I spoke to one man recently who said that he was told by a DFI Roads official that - believe it or not - 47 years ago, there were supposed to have been plans drawn up for a bypass in Enniskillen.

“I hope, Minister, that we will not see another project take 47 years to be delivered.

"It has certainly been a long-running issue in the constituency, and it is important that we see infrastructure projects progress as quickly as they possibly can.”

DUP MLA Deborah Erskine added: “I must admit that I am greedy when it comes to Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and I will not just stop now that funding has been delivered for this project in my constituency. We need more investment.”

Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan described herself as “like a child at Christmas” at the announcement of funding.

She said: “My constituency is one of the areas most deprived of modern, decent roads. To help drive regional balance, we need to invest in the right infrastructure.

"Enniskillen town centre can act as a bottleneck, where local traffic mixes with passing and strategically important traffic, resulting in delays for both.

"The bypass will be a huge economic driver for Enniskillen, and is crucial to helping unlock the area's full potential.”

Referencing ongoing issues in the constituency, she said: “Transport cannot resolve all of Fermanagh's economic difficulties.

"The Enniskillen bypass is not a magic bullet that will cure all the ills currently affecting the constituency, but it will be a massive help and a significant boost to the area, particularly in light of the recent shock announcement from BT that 300 people with responsibilities and aspirations may lose their jobs.

"Fermanagh has been neglected for too long, so this is hugely positive news.”

UUP MLA Tom Elliott said: “I remember being on site on a number of occasions many years ago with, as it was then, the Department for Regional Development's Roads Service to talk about the project.

“It goes quite close to the old, iconic Weir's Bridge that goes across the River Erne.

"If Members want to see a photograph or a painting of that, they should visit Fermanagh Unionist Hall, where there is still a big mural of the old Weir's Bridge on the wall.”

Like others Mr. Elliott raised the issue of how the development will impact landowners.

“I am sure that we will hear from the Minister that they have all been sorted at this stage, but a few issues may still have to be resolved.

"I ask that that is done in a fair and reasonable manner and that landowners are given the accommodation works that they require."

He asked for assurance that enhancement works will look “reasonably aesthetically pleasing”, and asked for assurance that “local people who need accommodation works and noise barriers will get them”.

There was laughter in the Chamber when, as he concluded the debate, Infrastructure Minister Mr. O'Dowd quipped: "We now know where we will have the tea and coffee after we cut the ribbon on the bridge.

"We will have it in the Fermanagh Unionist Hall, so that we can look at Weir's Bridge."

Contributions to the debate were also heard from SDLP MLA Mark Durkan and Alliance MLA Patrick Brown.