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NMA back canal scheme

Although stressing that proposals for this year’s £2.45m upgrade of Newry’s canal bank walkways need to be ‘fine tuned,’ Newry Maritime Association (NMA) has given its seal of approval to the scheme. Work on the DSD (£2m) and Newry and Mourne District Council (£450k) funded scheme from Sugar Island to Dublin Bridge is scheduled to go on site in April with completion scheduled for March 2014. Last week the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) raised concerns about the scheme stating that the erection of new railings along the canal with out allowing access for boats would make the historic waterway into ‘an ornamental lake.’ But although expressing sympathy to the IWAI’s position NMA spokesman James McArevey believes the scheme still represents a major step forward for the canal. “There could be fine tuning – such as slipways,” Mr McArevey told the Reporter. “There should be provision for access but at the same time I have no real objection to the railing. It is the first major investment in the canal in living memory. The only other major change was that the chains were removed at the behest of local coroners in the late 40s and concrete shuttering like steps was introduced and then a wall a few years later. We haven’t had a working environment on the canal since 1935 or 1936 so I think that anything that opens up the waterway is a positive step. There are five bridges in Newry that aren’t going to be removed any time soon so we are looking a recreational and no a working facility – so we have to be realistic.” Mr McArevey also revealed that a newly refurbished Fisher Park near Dublin Bridge could benefit from the erection of a statue recently produced by local children’s arts organisation Sticky Fingers. An application for funding for a new maritime sculpture for Drumalane area also looks set to be lodged by Newry and Mourne District Council later this year.


Newry Reporter

9th January 2013