Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD confirms Government commitment to build bridge at Narrow Water
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD met with the Chambers of Commerce at Warrenpoint and Newry and confirmed the Government's commitment to building a bridge at Narrow Water outside Warrenpoint.
In Warrenpoint, the Minister said " This is a commitment both in the 'Programme for Government' and in the 'National Development Plan' and will act as a catalyst to revitalise links between Louth and Down, and in particular will aid the tourism industry in the Cooley and Mourne area". The Minister said that the Department of Transport has made €390,000 available to Louth County Council to conduct a technical study in preparation for the building of the bridge. PJ Bradley MLA who helped arrange the meeting and Warrenpoint Chamber of Commerce welcomed this commitment and expressed strong support for the project which they saw as of direct benefit to Warrenpoint and the Down area.
In a similar meeting with Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, the Minister stressed the great links between Newry and Dundalk of which he had been a strong exponent since he was first elected to Louth County Council in 1979. He was briefed by the Chamber on their strong wish for the building of a 'southern relief road' which would link Warrenpoint with the main Dublin-Belfast road. He expressed agreement with the views of Minister Conor Murphy that the road proposal and the proposed bridge at Narrow Water "were not mutually exclusive". The Minister said "they are two separate projects both of which would contribute a considerable amount to the Greater Newry area and advance the status of Down and Louth as one of the most dynamic and accessible regions on the island". He expressed support for the Chamber's vision for such a relief road but stressed that any decision on this was a matter for Newry and the Northern Ireland Executive. Cathal McHale, President of the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade thanked the Minister for coming to meet with them and for his strong and ongoing support for enhancing links between Newry and Dundalk over the past three decades.
Note for Editors:
The Programme for Government states that the Government “will support the development of cross-border projects, including… the bridge at Narrow Water”. The National Development Plan 2007-2013 lists as a ‘priority for agreement’ “improved access for tourism and other opportunities along the Eastern corridor, including better links between Co. Louth and Co. Down in Northern Ireland.”
The Department of Transport provided Louth County Council with €390,000 to conduct a technical study in preparation for the building of the bridge. Progress on Narrow Water Bridge is overseen by Minister Noel Dempsey and Minister Conor Murphy in Transport Sectoral meetings of the North-South Ministerial Council.