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Progress made on Narrow Water Link at North-South Ministerial Council in Dundalk

7 February, 2008

South Down Assembly Member Caitríona Ruane has welcomed the progress made on the Narrow Water Link Bridge at today's meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council in Dundalk.

Ms Ruane said:

"I welcome the progress made on this issue at today's meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in Dundalk. Sinn Féin has been to the fore in lobbying for a bridge at Narrow Water that would link counties Down and Louth. This flagship project has wonderful potential and would, I believe, provide a major boost for the local economy.

"The focus for the North's Executive and the Irish Government must be to develop north/south links which are vital to the future development of tourism and industry in south Down.

"We do of course also need to ensure funding is secured for a southern relief road in Newry which is needed to ensure the continuing expansion of the city. However, both these projects are entirely compatible and if realised, would facilitate economic growth throughout this entire border region.

"The Narrow Water Bridge and the southern relief road would greatly improve the local road infrastructure and would help alleviate some of the traffic congestion in Newry City by freeing up the flow of freight traffic to towns and villages on the Eastern seaboard. It would also allow improve accessibility to Warrenpoint Docks and the many local people who work in Dundalk, Drogheda and Dublin would greatly benefit from having a more direct route available to them.

"The timeframe for both the link bridge and the relief road may vary but both signature projects must be a priority.

"Sinn Féin has been long term advocates of cross border projects and we are using our position as an all-Ireland party to spearhead both these initiatives. I welcome therefore, the willingness of the Irish Government to provide funding for a bridge - an integrated All-Ireland approach to tourism, the economy and spatial development is the only viable way forward and the many economic benefits for the region should a link bridge at Narrow Water be built makes a compelling argument for capital funding to be made available to pay for this project." ENDS

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