Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed today’s announcement by the north’s Environment Minister Alex Attwood that planning permission has been granted for the proposed Narrow Water bridge near Warrenpoint.
It is expected that An Bord Pleanála will announce its decision in the coming days.
The Louth TD said:
“This is an important step on the road to securing the necessary funding for this important economic and strategic investment. My colleague Caitriona Ruane has been central to the campaign for this development and I want to commend her for her efforts.
Louth County Council submitted the projects CPO and EIS to An Bord Pleanála last January and it is expected that it will announce its decision shortly.
A bridge connecting County Louth and County Down will be a significant boast to the local economy, creating jobs and economic growth in this region. Louth County Council has applied for funding under the INTERREG IV A programme and Sinn Féin and others have added our voice in support of this.
In a response to a Parliamentary Question from me the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed last week that in the event of the authorities in the north finding 75% of the costs of the project that he would be ‘prepared to try to find a net Exchequer contribution of the order of €1.5 million”.
Of course, if INTERREG agree to fund the project any money paid by the two governments will be refunded.
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the progress made in plans to build a bridge linking North Louth and South Down at Narrow Water; the steps he has taken to progress the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Gerry Adams.
* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 4th October, 2012.
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.
As you are aware, this Government has had to scale back capital spending considerably in recent times. This will impact significantly on the scope for new development projects.
The Narrow Water Bridge project is estimated to cost approximately €19 million. I understand that Louth County Council submitted the projects's CPO and EIS to An Bord Pleanála on 16th January 2012, that an oral hearing was held in June of this year and that Louth County Council expects a decision shortly.
I also understand that Louth County Council has applied for INTERREG IVA funding for the project. In advance of this application, I indicated to Louth County Council that funding under the INTERREG IVA programme would require a commitment from the Northern Ireland authorities to fund in excess of 75% of the up front cost of the project. I am not aware if Louth County Council has obtained this commitment. I did indicate that if the Northern Ireland authorities were willing to support the project and if an INTERREG IVA application were successful then I would be prepared to try to find a net Exchequer contribution of the order of €1.5m.
Note to Editor:
The bridge is an opening bridge that enables tall ships, leisure craft and other marine vessels access to the Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry.The bridge crosses the Newry River at Narrow Water to the Omeath Road at the townland of Cornamucklagh, near the village of Omeath.
The total length of the scheme and bridge crossing is approximately 660 metres.
The proposed development is by Louth County Council in association with Newry and Mourne District Council.