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Assembly back bridge

It’s time to move the Narrow Water Bridge project forward. South Down MLA Chris Hazzard said the time for talking was done and it is now time to make the bridge a reality. The Sinn Fein MLA was speaking after the Assembly voted in favour of an SDLP motion calling on it to make explicit its commitment to ensure that the remaining financial package for the bridge is put in place immediately. “The positive support from the floor of the Assembly to a motion calling for the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge is the latest indicator that we should now get on to the next stage; which is construction,” he said. “We now need to consolidate all the positive work by all parties on both sides of the border and by elected representatives in Europe and the local chambers of commerce and start to plan the construction of this bridge. The positive economic benefits of having this bridge have been expressed many times but we cannot continue with endless talk.” SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt said the bridge could become an icon for economic growth in terms of tourism, infrastructure and strengthening relations north and south. “This is a genuinely symbolic cross-border project,” she said. It makes the very best of good sense at every social and economic level and on every conceivable measure of community benefit. This is the moment to envisage a Greater Carlingford Lough concept, to realize that the Mournes, Ring of Gullion and Cooley form a natural coherent destination area of their own like the Ring of Kerry or the Causeway Coast or the Lakelands.” However not everyone is so confident in the bridge’s ability to deliver an economic boost to the area. Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said that the funding for the bridge would be to the detriment of other higher priority projects. “The Southern Relief Road which would join up the Warrenpoint Road with the Dublin Road is much better placed to increase tourism and build on Newry’s trading reputation by reducing congestion in Newry City and its immediate environs,” he said. “The Narrow Water Bridge aims to solve a problem which in reality does not exist, tourists want to visit Newry City and the current road network allows them to do this as access tourism sites on each side of the border without the need and expense of a bridge at Narrow Water.”


Newry Democrat

11th December 2012