Latest crash on A5 occurs after public meeting by campaigners to …

PART of the A5 in Co Tyrone remained closed on Wednesday evening following a crash that occurred the day after campaigners gathered to support the long-awaited upgrade to the road.

The collision happened on the A5 Beltany Road, close to Newtownstewart, shortly before 1pm on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said one person was taken to Derry's Altnagelvin Hospital following initial treatment at the scene.

A PSNI spokesperson said the road's turn-off to Newtownstewart remained closed to motorists.

The latest crash came after loved ones of victims killed on the A5 spoke of their heartache at a public meeting by a campaign group demanding movement on the long-awaited project to upgrade the road.

Hundreds gathered at Omagh's Silverbirch Hotel on Tuesday evening to support calls for the dual carriageway scheme to get underway after years of delays.

The meeting took place ahead of the reconvened public inquiry into the A5 Western Transport Corridor project next week.

It was organised by the A5: Enough is Enough group, which was founded by Tyrone GAA following the death of four young players on the road in the space of a year.

The number of people to have been killed on the A5 since the upgrade was first announced in 2007 is now at 47.

Among those in attendance at Tuesday's meeting was the daughter and granddaughter of crash victim Julia McSorley, who died along with her niece and nephew, brother and sister Dan McKane and Christine Duffy, at a crash on the A5 near Aughnacloy last month.

They had been traveling in a minivan on the way home from attending a funeral in London, before the vehicle collided with a lorry.

Speaking to a UTV reporter at the event, Ms McSorely's daughter, Julia McGeehan, said her family remain "in a state of shock" following the tragedy.

"Our whole lives have been turned upside down," she said.

"We just lost our whole world. Mummy was everything to every one of us, and I just can't believe's only just sinking in."

Her daughter, Tara McKenna said: "It's absolutely devastating. We are so lucky to have such a strong family bond and it's really pulled us together in this terrible time.

"Granny was just one-in-a-million. There was no-one like her and she helped me in more ways than she knew."

The third stage of the A5 public inquiry gets underway on Monday at Omagh's Strule Arts Centre.

Costs to upgrade the 54-mile stretch of road between Aughnacloy and Newbuildings in Derry have soared to around £1.6 billion after setbacks including legal challenges.

There have been calls for the Irish government, which has an estimated budget surplus of €65bn over the next four years, to commit funds to the upgrade, which it has previously described as a "critical infrastructure project" for the island.

Representatives of Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance also attended Tuesday's meeting, alongside Co Donegal Fianna Fáil senator Niall Blaney.

Last week Mr Blaney addressed the Seanad and described the A5 as "absolutely the worst road in the country", stating he had written to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to step in and order a start to the project.

Speaking at the meeting, A5 Enough is Enough chair Niall McKenna said: "We will not accept minor road improvements. We will not accept only sections of the road being delivered. Our message is clear - the only thing we will accept is a new road, a new dual carriageway the whole way from Aughnacloy to Newbuildings."

Meanwhile, a road remained closed in east Belfast on Wednesday after what police have described as a "serious" collision.

The collision, understood to have involved a pedestrian, happened on the Knock Road shortly before 3pm.