Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the inclusion in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement, reached in the negotiations to re-establish the political institutions in the North, of a commitment from the British government to provide additional financial support for infrastructure projects, including Narrow Water Bridge.
The Louth TD also welcomed the commitment from the Irish government to “update and enhance its commitment to jointly funding cross-border investment” … to “achieve greater connectivity on this island …”
The Irish government said it is “also ready to jointly progress consideration of options for the development of the Narrow Water bridge project at the NSMC (North South Ministerial Conference).”
Teachta Adams said:
“Sinn Féin has consistently supported the construction of a bridge at Narrow Water connecting Louth and south Down/south Armagh. We have raised it as an objective in each of the negotiations that have occurred in the North in recent years. We did so again during the current negotiations.
“Its enormous economic potential and community benefits are obvious.
“It would link An Area of Outstanding Beauty in counties Armagh and Down with a Special Area of Conservation and Protection on the county Louth side.
“It is located roughly half-way between the two largest centres of population on the island of Ireland.
“Almost a quarter of visitors to Ireland go walking.
“The European cycle market is worth €54 billion.
“And the Narrow Water Bridge can create an attraction to rival the Mayo Greenway.
“In the new Agreement achieved between the two governments and the parities in the North the British government is committing to a range of financial and economic measures. One of these is ‘turbocharging infrastructure delivery’.
“The agreement states that: ‘The executive will benefit from increased funding for capital infrastructure investment as a result of the UK Government’s infrastructure revolution.” It goes on the state that this “infrastructure funding will enable the Executive to invest in a range of potential capital projects’. Among those listed is Narrow Water Bridge.
“For this project to succeed the Irish government has to invest directly in the construction of the bridge and to work with the Executive in the North, Louth County Council and the British government to ensure that the long held vision of a bridge at Narrow Water is turned into a reality.”
Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú said:
“Louth County Council has long supported a bridge at Narrow Water. It is a vital piece of infrastructure for the whole of the Mourne, Gullion and Cooley region. It would enhance business and investment opportunities, create jobs and strengthen the tourism potential of the area.
“The need for the bridge is well recognised. An Oireachtas Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation committee reported that it is essential to the economic development of the region and the Fresh Start Agreement in the North mandated the Northern Executive and the Irish Government to review and develop the project. We now need, on the back of this Agreement, the Irish government to work closely with Louth County Council and other stakeholders in advancing the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge.”