An Taoiseach Enda Kenny is prepared to support a new attempt to build the Narrow Water Bridge across Carlingford Lough linking the North and South.
€17.4m had been allocated from Europe for the project last year. Louth County Council, Newry and Mourne District Council, and Down District Council also put up funding, and the late Edward Haughey had planned to add financial backing, when it all fell through.
The tender had come in well above the estimated cost and the EU money was diverted to a totally different project (railways).
But after the successful historic state visit to Britain by President Michael D Higgins, Anglo-Irish relations, and North-south relations, are high on the political agenda again and local Labour senator Jim D’Arcy, and Cllr Martin Murnaghan - who have worked hard to move the project on - believe the political will has now returned.
“I have been speaking to An Taoiseach,” senator Darcy said, “and I would expect that at the meeting of the North-South Ministerial body in June, the Government will agree to support and get involved in an application to Special European Programme Body (SEUP) under the next round of funding.
“This is a very significant development. The funding is key to getting the project moving.
“The last funding was granted under INTEREGG 4 but when the tender came in above the grant application, the funding collapsed.
“I also raised the issue with the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, at a dinner in Stormont recently.
“I asked that the Northern Assembly upgraded its support and they have assured me that it will be done,” senator D’Arcy said.
At its next meeting, Louth County Council is expected to look for approval from councillors to buy land at Omeath for the bridge project.