Louth County Council spent €1.95m on Narrow Water Bridge project before EU funding was withdrawn

Louth County Council spent €1.95m on Narrow Water Bridge project before EU funding was withdrawn

Louth County Council spent €1.95 million on the Narrow Water Bridge project before EU funding was withdrawn in November 2013.

The Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) had pledged €17.4 million towards the bridge, which was proposed to link Ineatg abd Warrenpoint.

The bridge was due to proceed a little over three years ago but after estimates for the project went way above what Louth County Council expected in July 2013, it failed to commence beyond the tender stage.

That meant that the EU funding on offer was withdrawn having not been drawn down in time.

In an article in The Irish Independent today focusing on the spending of local authorities, it was revealed that Louth County Council spent €1.95 million on the cross border project before it was shelved.

This included payments of €1.3 million to consultants, while it was also alleged that the council was ordered to pay another €304,000 when a dispute arose between both sides.

The Narrow Water cable-stayed bridge, 195m long, had been in the planning for at least five years when it was mothballed and would have connected Cornamucklagh near Omeath, Co Louth with Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, Co Down, at an historic crossing point. The entire build would have been 620m long and it had been hoped it could be open by 2015. Backers of the scheme claimed it was crucial to the prospects for economic regeneration and reconciliation of the border community in Louth and Down.

Speaking in December 2015, Louth County Council chief executive Joan Martin said the project was “shovel ready” if the opportunity ever arose to progress with it once more.

Today’s Independent article also revealed that the council was owed €22m at present.

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