Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA visited Warrenpoint today to meet with Senator Erin McGreehan at the site of the proposed and long awaited Narrow Water Bridge.
Community representatives and SDLP MLA Sinead Bradley and Cllr Declan McAteer were also in attendance at the meeting which was held to highlight to the Minister the importance of the Narrow Water Bridge to the entire North East region, north and south of the border.
Planning permission for the project was first granted way back in 2012 but immediate work was shelved after it emerged costs had been grossly underestimated. This was despite EU funding acquired by Louth County Council.
Minister Mallon described the project as an “important cross border bridge”. She said: “The connectivity, economic, tourism and active travel benefits it can bring are hugely significant, especially in a new Covid and Brexit world”.
Senator McGreehan said the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge “simply makes sense on so many levels.”
“There are many advantages to this bridge and it would have a really positive effect on our communities. This bridge is much more than a simple connection bringing north and south closer.
“The economic benefits will be massive. This bridge will be the starting point to so many positive synergies. The tourism potential of this project is enormous. It will open up the entire region in an entirely new way,” she said.
“This area despite its prime location, beautiful natural resources and incredible history has been significantly under-achieving both in economic development terms generally and in tourism.”
Infrastructure Minister Visits Proposed Narrow Water Bridge Site (via Newry.ie)Read More
The Fianna Fáil Senator added that Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been looking at this project “very positively” and she said that she will liaise with An Taoiseach and the relevant other departments in pushing this project over the line.”
The Narrow Water Bridge, when built, would span the picturesque lough between Omeath and Narrow Water Castle near Warrenpoint in county Down.
Drainage and culvert works have been carried out adjacent to the A2 roundabout at Warrenpoint in anticipation of the project progressing, while submissions have been accepted by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning NI for pre-commencement compliance.
It is understood the groundworks carried out to date, on the northern side of the border, may have contributed to the existing planning permission – due to expire – still stands.
Minister Mallon said: “I am committed to progressing the Narrow Water Bridge project. I recognise the strong local support for a bridge to link the communities on both sides of Carlingford Lough and to take full advantage of the tourism potential of this cross-border region, whilst protecting the natural environment in this area of historic and ecological significance.
“My officials have been working to update an economic appraisal of options considered in respect of future development of Narrow Water in collaboration with the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“Recognising the importance of all island working to deliver this much needed strategic project, I have written to Minister Ryan following my site visit today, as collaboration is key to its delivery for our people north and south.