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Ruane welcomes Louth County Council announcement on Narrow Water Link

5 March, 2008

South Down Assembly Member Caitríona Ruane believes a bridge linking counties Down and Louth at Narrow Water has 'wonderful potential' and has urged the British and Irish Governments to make the funding available in order ensure the project is realised.

Ms Ruane said:

"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.

I welcome therefore, the news that engineers have been appointed by Louth County Council who will begin working on the bridge. It is important that we press ahead with this project and ensure there is in place a cross border road link that would make a significant difference to people who live and work in the locality.

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

"We do of course also need to secure the necessary funding to pay 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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