DOWN District Council has agreed in principle to provide €500,000 (417,000 pounds) to Louth County Council to support the £32m Narrow Water Bridge project.
The granting of a one-off capital contribution will go towards the construction costs of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge which will link the R173 Omeath to Newry Road in County Louth with the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint Road in County Down.
The decision was taken at the local authority’s meeting full Council meeting on Monday 15 October, but no money will be handed over until a number of key conditions attached to the offer of funding are met.
A review of the business case must confirm that Down Council’s contribution to the proposed bridge over Carlingford Lough represents value for money in terms of the economic and tourism boost it provides for the area.
Speaking after supporting the financial contribution to support the Narrow Water Bridge project Alliance Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “The proposed Narrow Water bridge will have significant strategic and economic benefits for the Mournes, South Down and the border region and when completed will act as a catalyst for the economic, social and cultural development of the cross-border region in which it will be located.”
“The bridge will provide a new crossing over Newry River to the north of Carlingford Lough. The single carriageway road and bridge, which will have a combined length of 600m, and will link the R173 Omeath to Newry Road in County Louth with the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint Road in County Down. The bridge will also have an opening section to facilitate the passage of marine traffic, including tall ships.”
“The project is a genuine cross-border project and builds on many years of campaigning and lobbying by local communities and organisations on both sides of the border and will be seen as a major symbol of peace and reconciliation being the first ever link bridge joining the two parts of the island.”
“I believe that the long-term benefits with proceeding with the construction of Narrow Water Bridge project will far outweigh the estimated project costs in terms of job creation andsustenance of jobs in the cross-border region.”
The funding from Down District Council will be the last tier of funding applied if the project is delivered under budget or new funding is provided then Down District Council funding would not be required.