Funding for Narrow Water Bridge welcomed

Taoiseach describes plan as ‘a true all-island project’

An artist’s impression of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge at Carlingford Lough

An artist’s impression of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge at Carlingford Lough

 

Confirmation of funding to progress Narrow Water Bridge, which will link counties Louth and Down, was welcomed by organisations and politicians on both sides of the Border.

Funding of €3 million for the project was confirmed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday; the money will come from the Shared Island Fund and will see the project brought to tender stage.

He said the bridge would “act as a key enabler for improved cross-Border active travel and recreation activities, including the development of greenways, walking trails and park amenities”, and was “a true all-island project, with strong cross-party political support North and South”.

Nichola Mallon, the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, said on Twitter: “At a time when we feel we are being pulled apart by Brexit, this iconic bridge will be a physical link and constant reminder of our connections to one another on the island.”

In Louth, Fine Gael Deputy Fergus O’Dowd, chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, said: “This is truly a cross-Border project and when constructed will greatly assist tourism, trade and connectivity in the east Border region, both North and South. There will also be a huge spin off for active travel and recreation, including greenways, park walkways etc.”

When completed it will be “a great example of cross-Border consensus and co-operation, proving that peace and reconciliation really does work,” he added.

Deputy Ruairi O’Murchu (SF) said there could be “no more false dawns” on the project. The Dundalk-based TD said “it is a step forward, and will be welcomed by those who live in the north Louth and south Down areas. But we need detail and timelines on this to ensure that it continues to progress.”

Persevered

Pamela Arthurs, chief executive of the East Border Region, said the bridge has been a long-standing project in terms of North-South co-operation, and she paid tribute to Louth County Council and its chief executive.

She said, “at the end of the day Louth County Council have to be commended because they persevered, they spent a lot of their own money and never gave up on the project. Joan Martin, the chief executive of Louth County Council, has been involved for many years in the project.”

Dundalk Chamber of Commerce said: “This tourism initiative is long overdue and we would hope that the tourist boards, North and South of the island, will also now increase funding to the area. We have campaigned on this matter for many years, but without the tenacity of those on the frontline this might never have happened.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan said it was far more than a bridge and was, “a symbol for Ireland’s future”.

“A symbol to draw a line on the past by respecting it, acknowledging that past, but it is also about building bridges, forging relationships, and moving on to the next 100 years of this island’s story.”

“The people on either side of Carlingford Lough are so close – culturally, geographically – and yet we have been divided,” she added.

The chairman of Louth County Council, Cllr Pio Smith (Lab), said: “The eventual construction of the bridge is a no-brainer as the benefits are obvious i.e. tourism, connectivity and relationship building.”