THE Narrow Water Bridge has officially been given planning permission by the Northern Irish authorities in what is being hailed by many as a big boost for the North Louth region.
It is now looking increasingly likely that An Bord Pleannala will follow suit within a matter of days.
The bridge has been budgeted to cost approximately e19 million, and Louth County Council have officially applied for funding Interreg Funding on the project.
The bridge connecting County Louth and County Down will be a significant boast to the local economy, creating jobs and economic growth in this region.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Omeath based County Councillor Peter Savage welcomed the news: “This is going to make the area more attractive from a tourist point of view, as it will connect two previous separated area which otherwise would only be reached by ferry.
“It was initially mooted over 30 years ago by Cllr Tommy Elmore, and he must commended for the work he did on the project.
“It will hopefully mean now that Omeath can become a hub from which tourists can seen both Mourne and Cooley as a whole.In the past people from the North would come down to the South on a Sunday owing to drinking ban, and Omeath was a very busy spot. This could help it return to its former glory.
“Louth County Council, both the previous County Manager and the current acting County Managers, and indeed Michael Curran, should be commended for their work on pushing this project through.”
Cllr Savage did add one caveat, which was: “Planning Permission has not yet been granted in the South, and considering how long this has taken to get this far, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Not until the sod is turned on the building project.”
Deputy, Peter Fitzpatrick, has told the Democrat that An Bord Pleanala are likely make a similar announcement within days. .
“I have spoken to the Environment Minister, Phil Hogan TD, who has indicated to me that a decision in terms of the application to build the Narrow Water Bridge, which will run between County Louth and County Down, is expected from an Bord Pleanála in the coming days.
“Owing to the transnational boundary, planning permission was sought from both sides of the border to build the bridge. Planning permission has already been granted from the northern authorities and Louth County Council now awaits the decision of on Bord Pleanála.
Northern Irish Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the bridge would be the most significant infrastructure project in the “border region” for many years.
“I hope that a similarly positive decision will come from planning authorities in the Republic soon in relation to the southern end of the Narrow Water,” he said.
“This is an important step on the road to securing the necessary funding for this important economic and strategic investment. My colleague Caitriona Ruane has been central to the campaign for this development and I want to commend her for her efforts,” said Deputy Gerry Adams this week.
Louth County Council has applied for funding under the INTERREG IV.