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Plain sailing?

Plans for a £6.45m car ferry service linking Greenore and Greencastle continue to develop – with cross border planning applications set to be lodged in the coming weeks. Carlingford Ferries the company behind the project believe that the most recent funding announcement for the Narrow Water bridge has provided a new focus for its project. In a statement Paul O’Sullivan of  Carlingford Ferries said that the project could provide 24 direct and 300 linked jobs across the south Down and north Louth region – injecting a spend of 10m Euro into the economy. “We have several decades of experience in the ferry industry and have been working on this project for almost six years,” he said. “This project would have a major impact on the cross border tourism potential of the iconic and outstandingly beautiful Mournes – Cooley region. The announcement of funding and planning for a bridge at Narrow Water gives this project renewed vigour. Tourists in particular would have the option to complete a circular 35 mile round trip of the area and local people for the first time could enjoy the novelty of crossing the border at two different points on the water by car. We have experience of managing car ferries in other parts of Ireland and we believe that this link between Greencastle and Greenore would be a massive boost for the area.” The project is being backed by the private funding of three families from Limerick and Clare and it is understood that the cost of using the facility would be £10 one way and £15 return. “This project would have a major impact on the cross border tourist potential of the iconic and outstandingly beautiful Mournes – Cooley region. It is important that we continue to develop this project in an inclusive manner in harmony with the local communities,” Mr Sullivan added. In addition to the project, plans to develop a Geotourism area in the Mourne-Cooley-Gullion region are continuing to evolve, with public representatives briefed on progress last month at a meeting in the Carrickdale hotel. The EU funded project, which aims to develop an internationally recognised tourism destination by promoting the area’s natural landscape, geology and related heritage and culture will run until June 2015. Meanwhile Minister for Finance Sammy Wilson has yet to sign off his department’s commitment to the Narrow Water Bridge project. Despite this the team behind the project remain confident that the tight time frames demanded by the INTERREG funding package will be met. To this end Louth County Council has pressed ahead with its timetable – with a tender period for specialist services providers for wind tunnel testing services related to the bridge, which closed on December 20.


Newry Reporter

2nd January 2013