Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said she remain committed to seeing the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge as she met with council officials on both sides of the border in a bid to move the project forward.
Both Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Louth Council met the Minister on Wednesday and all affirmed their commitment to the New Decade, New Approach project and committed to working in partnership to make long awaited progress.
Minister Mallon said: “The Narrow Water Bridge project is a key all-island, transformative project that will improve connectivity but also open up opportunities for our island economy and tourism in particular.
“As soon as I became Minister, I made it clear that I am committed to the delivery of this iconic project that will allow so many untapped opportunities to open up for South Down and Louth.
“I have been working with partners in the Irish Government to ensure that this project remains on top of our shared agenda as a New Decade, New Approach promise, and today I was delighted to meet with partners in both the Louth and Newry, Mourne and Down Councils to discuss how we can work together to ensure delivery.
“Today’s meeting was productive and all of us reaffirmed our commitment to the Narrow Water Bridge project.
“I will be meeting again with the councils in the summer to give a progress report on the work to get Narrow Water Bridge built.”
Councillor Declan McAteer from Newry, Mourne and Down Council said: “As Co-Chair of the Joint Council Committee I was hugely encouraged by the Minister’s enthusiasm for the NWB project.
“Apart from the immediate economic beneficial effects on the towns and villages on the shores of Carlingford Lough which this bridge will bring, the Minister’s ambition around creating and increasing access to Green Corridors will provide a long term improvement to the health and well-being of many citizens living in our respective Council areas, as this bridge will link in with our two Greenways.
“In addition the ability to further enhance our ‘green tourism’ product around the entire Lough will become enormously significant as we endeavour to jointly promote our region.”
Councillor Antóin Watters from Louth County Council who also Co-Chairs the Joint Committee said: “I feel progress is being made at last and after commitments from the Minister, I am confident that the people of this area will get to see the completion of the bridge.
“This is a vital piece of infrastructure that will benefit the North Louth/South Down areas and not only will it boost tourism but it will also boost the connectivity between Louth and Down especially in the area of ‘green tourism’, connecting our greenways, pathways and cycle paths.
“The time for talking is over. It’s time to get the project moving. We need to keep the momentum going for the betterment of our respective Council areas.”