Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his cabinet are expected to discuss making a contribution of up to 7 million Euro towards the Narrow Water Bridge project at a special meeting on September 3 the Newry Reporter understands. The Reporter also understands that a letter of offer worth 17.4 million Euro from the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) was signed off before yesterday’s (August 20) deadline. This means project promoters now have some breathing space as they seek to fill a multi-million Euro funding gap created by the previous underestimation of the bridge’s construction costs. In a statement the SEUPB did not confirm the arrangement but did state they would continue to work on the project. “The SEUPB is currently in discussion of the financial viability and deliverability of the Narrow Water Bridge with the project’s lead partner the East Border Region Ltd. Until these discussions are concluded the SEUPB is unable to comment further on the matter.” Ahead of the Dublin meeting Newry and Mourne District Council is expected to discuss contributing around 1.7m Euro to the scheme at a meeting on Thursday with a similar sum expected to be pumped in by Louth County Council whose officers are scheduled to meet yesterday (Tuesday). A further 0.5m Euro mould come from Down District Council whilst philanthropic funding ois also understood to be required if the financial shortfall is to be met. Irrespective of the decision made by the Dublin government on September 3, a financial confirmation on whether the project progresses or falls is expected following this crunch meeting. The Taoiseach would have had the opportunity to inspect the bridge site on Monday following his attendance at the funeral of Patrick Leneghan the father of former President Mary McAleese. After the funeral in Rostrevor it is understood that Mr Kenny spoke to a number of supporters of the project who discussed the matter with him.
21 August 2013