TAOISEACH Enda Kenny publicly pledged yesterday to spend hundreds of millions of euro to build a motorway in the North.
There have been more than 2,400 objections to the planned €928m A5 motorway from Derry to Aughnacloy, on the Monaghan-Tyrone border.
Its opponents have branded it a vanity project and a "political road" which will not deliver promised economic benefits and which will "cripple" transport budgets north and south.
But Mr Kenny said his Government is committed to co-funding the project with the Northen Assembly because it would "significantly improve" access from the north-west to Dublin.
"I've travelled that on many occasions and it does need to be developed. The previous government had committed to put money in there and we will honour that commitment," he said at the annual conference of the Institute for British-Irish studies in UCD.
But the Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland environmental group reacted with surprise to Mr Kenny's announcement.
Its director James Orr said the A5 motorway was not projected to bring about any increase in traffic to the north-west despite its enormous cost.
"Since the public inquiry has started, there's even more evidence to suggest it's an ill-thought out, vainglorious scheme.
"At the end of the day we all know this is a political road," he said.