The Narrow Water Bridge project is moving forward according to local Fine Gael representatives Senator Jim D’Arcy and Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick.
Last week the pair visited Warrenpoint and Newry as members of the Oireachtas committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement to discuss the provision of the bridge.
Last year the EU withdrew funding for the project after it was not drawn down in time by Louth County and Newry and Mourne District Councils. It had looked like work on the bridge was due to proceed last summer but quotations for the project when it went out to tender greatly exceeded what Louth County Council had budgeted for.
Despite that setback, Senator D’Arcy and Deputy Fitzpatrick have failed to throw in the towel on a bridge that would link Warrenpoint and Omeath.
Commenting on the matter last week, Senator D’Arcy said the meeting was about seeing what could be done to make the bridge happen.
“Everyone involved knows that this would be a fantastic development. The Cooley Peninsula and the Mourne Mountains are wonderful amenities that should be utilised and promoted.
“We met with Louth County Council, Newry and Mourne District Council, Down Local Authorities and East Border Region. We also discussed the proposals with Chambers of Commerce representatives from Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Dundalk and Newry, and during the day we held meetings with INTERREG projects and Greenore Greencastle Community Association. All representatives are happy with the goals of the projects and after very constructive discussions, there was a general consensus that there are two main options for the bridge.
“The first option is to go ahead with the bridge according to the plans that have already been drawn up and to seek funding for this project. Alternatively it has been suggested that the Narrow Water Bridge could link in with the Southern Relief road around Newry, which would connect Warrenpoint Port with the motorway. I have had a meeting with the Department of Regional Development in Northern Ireland and I have raised the options with my Government colleagues including the Minister for Transport and Tourism, Paschal Donohoe.
“The Good Friday Committee will be looking for the North South Ministerial Council to commit to the provisions of the Narrow Water Bridge at its next meeting. The Committee will be writing to First Minister Peter Robinson and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny asking for this commitment to be made.”
Commenting on the meeting and on the Narrow Water Bridge project Peter Fitzpatrick TD said: “Myself and Senator D’Arcy will be working hand in glove together on this. This project is good for Louth and we are committed to doing all that we can to make it a reality.
“The visit was a great success, we had straight-forward, positive, business-like conversations with people in the area who would be directly affected.”
Senator D’Arcy and Deputy Fitzpatrick have emphasised that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already invested a lot of time in the Narrow Water Bridge project. Both Louth representatives said they are committed to working together to see the provision of the bridge which would “secure Louth’s position as a major tourist attraction.”