D’Arcy and Fitzpatrick refusing to give up on Narrow Water Bridge project

An artist's impression of the Narrow Water Bridge

An artist’s impression of the Narrow Water Bridge

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.”

Dundalk Retail Park on verge of being sold

dundalk retail park

A US investment fund are believed to be close to securing a deal to buy Dundalk Retail Park.

It is reported that Varde Partners are hoping to snap up the Spectrum portfolio of shopping centres and retail parks, which apart from Dundalk also includes the Bloomfield Centre in Dun Laoghaire, Douglas Shopping Centre in Cork and Quayside in Sligo.

The portfolio has been marked as ‘sale agreed’ in recent days with estate agents Savills, with speculation that Varde could pay in the region of €150m for the malls.

The current rental income at Dundalk Retail Park is just under €2.5m per annum.

Then/Now Dundalk calendar to be released next week

B2zPET_CIAIaG3l

Local photographer Mark Quigley has certainly caught the eye throughout the year with his Then/Now Project, which combines current images of some of Dundalk’s landmark areas with pictures from the past.

Amongst the areas covered by Mark includes the Market Square, Anne Street, Roden Place, the Castletown Road, the Castle Road and many more.

Now he has put together calendars featuring some of the best images. You can purchase the calendars, priced €10, from next Wednesday, with further details available from here.

Dundalk Simon Community issue urgent appeal for donations

10273181_10152859168449767_6752450965270392893_o

Dundalk Simon Community has issued an urgent appeal for donations to their shop in York Street.

The charity are seeking any of the follow:

  • Ladies, gents and kids clothing
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Jewellery
  • CDs, DVDs and videos
  • Books and recent magazines
  • Items of furniture

Donations can be dropped in to the shop or collected if required.

All proceeds raised in the shop go towards running their emergency service, which has 32 beds in Dundalk.

Dundalk RNU to protest outside local Topaz garage this Saturday

10799519_10152821824020359_1449106276_n

The Dundalk branch of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) are set to stage a protest outside Niall Clarke’s Topaz garage on the Dublin Road this Saturday at 1pm.

The protest has been staged due to Topaz owner Denis O’Brien’s involvement with Irish Water.

Dundalk RNU are inviting all anti-austerity groups to join them on the day.

Ardee by-pass unlikely to proceed anytime soon

Seamus Kirk TD

Seamus Kirk TD

Local TD Seamus Kirk today received a reply from the National Roads Authority regarding the progress of the N52 western by-pass of Ardee, which suggests the project is not likely to proceed any time soon.

Earlier this month in a parliamentary question to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, the Fianna Fáil representative called for the by-pass to be prioritised to help boost trade in the town centre, which he said was struggling with traffic problems.

Minister Donohoe referred the matter to the NRA, who responded to Deputy Kirk in a letter dated from last Friday.

Insisting that their funding was “extremely limited”, the NRA’s Programme and Regulatory Manager Gary Lynch pointed out in his reply that an allocation of €160,000 had been provided to Louth County Council to progress planning and design work for the proposed scheme.

He insisted, however, that the funding was not there to proceed to the construction stage.

The letter read: “The advancement of the scheme to construction stage cannot, however, be accommodated in the national roads programme at present due to the funding constraints outlined above. The situation in relation to the project will be reviewed in the event of additional resources being made available to the Authority in the period up to 2016.”

The letter in full can be seen below:

1-3

New dye could wipe out fuel laundering

Fuel laundering is a major issue in this area

Fuel laundering is a major issue in this area

Illegal fuel laundering should be “virtually eliminated” by next spring with the introduction of a new dye, Britain’s Revenue and Customs has said.

It said it will be almost impossible to remove the marker put in tax-rebated fuel, which is intended for agricultural use.

It means a roadside check can easily detect motorists who use discounted red diesel.

This problem is particularly evident in the border region with numerous illegal fuel plants having been raided in and around north Louth in recent years and countless litres of toxic fuel waste dumped around the county at great cost to taxpayers.

Senior HMRC official Pat Curtis said: “The whole idea of this marker is to virtually eliminate laundering.”

After a number of years of trials, the new fuel marker will be implemented in the Republic of Ireland and the UK in April 2015.

Red diesel is cheaper than regular diesel and is intended for off-road agricultural use.

Organised crime gangs have established sophisticated laundering plants to remove the dye, sourcing chemicals from China and using the internet to improve their techniques, Mr Curtis added.

Heaven Boutique open pop up shop on Clanbrassil Street

Inside the new Heaven Boutique pop up shop at the Clanbrassil Centre on Clanbrassil Street

Inside the new Heaven Boutique pop up shop at the Clanbrassil Centre on Clanbrassil Street

Heaven Boutique, which used to trade in the Marshes Shopping Centre in the outlet now occupied by Starbucks, have opened up a new pop up shop at the Clanbrassil Centre on Clanbrassil Street.

The boutique opened its doors at 9am yesterday and will be trading for five weeks right through until December 23rd, with everything priced €15 or less.

The pop up shop is located in the former Michael H unit, opposite McArdle Meats and Boyd’s.

The store still trades online at www.vavavoom.ie but if you’re looking for a dress for Christmas or for a party over the festive period be sure to call in for the chance of grabbing a bargain.

Sharkey “livid” at shoddy work carried out on Blackrock sea defences

Cracks are already quite evident in the sea defences at Blackrock just a couple of months after the work was carried out

Cracks are already quite evident in the sea defences at Blackrock just a couple of months after the work was carried out

Louth County Councillor Tomás Sharkey has hit out at the shoddy work that was carried out recently to try and improve the sea defences in Blackrock.

A large sum of money was spent repairing and strengthening the sea defences in the last few months in the hope that scenes like the floods in the village earlier this year could be avoided in future.

However, after a few high tides and heavy rain in recent weeks the defences are already cracking and coming apart.

Now Cllr Sharkey is calling on Louth County Council to withhold payment to the contractors until the problem is rectified.

He said: “Only two months after a lot of public money was spent repairing sea defences at Blackrock promenade, the work has already started to break and fall away. I am livid that the work done was obviously not up to scratch, couldn’t stand one high tide and leaves the community in fear at what might happen when a strong storm comes to our shore.

“Already, the defences are shifting more than a foot away from the promenade wall, the pedestrian steps have broken and are unsafe and the sections of defences are rising away from each other.

“Resources are scarce enough without works like this failing. The community of Blackrock and the taxpayers of Ireland deserve better. I have asked County Council management to make a full report on why this has happened and also to hold back on payment to the contractors who carried out the work,” said the Sinn Féin representative.

Cllr Sharkey demonstrates the gap that has already developed between the defences and the promenade wall

Cllr Sharkey demonstrates the gap that has already developed between the defences and the promenade wall

Ardee Road reopens to traffic

The scene at the Ardee Road on Sunday. Picture courtesy of Marko's Pizza, Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk

The scene at the Ardee Road on Sunday. Picture courtesy of Marko’s Pizza, Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk

The Ardee Road reopened to traffic.

The road – the N52/R171 – had been closed since the weekend due to heavy flooding in the Mounthamilton area.

It resulted in a substantial loss of business for a number of outlets, including Paddy Clarke’s Texaco filling station.

A number of residents along the road are still dealing with excess water on their properties but the fact the road has reopened should alleviate some of the traffic problems that the town has been experiencing in recent days.