Louth Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Cross-Border Co-Operation, Declan Breathnach TD, has criticised the ongoing failure to restore the Assembly and Executive in Northern Ireland and says that the absence of an Assembly is wasting the best chance for investment in a new Narrow Water Bridge that we have seen for years.
Deputy Breathnach commented, “There has been much discussion about why the northern parties have failed to reach agreement, but there has been very little discussion about the impact of this failure.
“One concrete impact, which is a source of great frustration in the North East, is the fact that despite the injection of some €450M in infrastructure spending over the next two years, there is no one in the North pushing the case for investment in the Narrow Water Bridge.
“This is an important piece of infrastructure that has the potential to transform the local tourism product and local economy in counties Down and Louth.
"My colleagues and I continue to push for investment on the southern side of the border, but the pressure needs to continue in the north.
“The Narrow Water Bridge project is shovel ready and its completion would have a dramatic positive impact on the entire North East region.
"The North - South Ministerial Council needs to give its unequivocal support to the project instead of continually reviewing it in an effort to kick the can down the road.
"I am fearful that the planning for the bridge could run out which would be a major setback to the entire project.
“My fear is that in the absence of an Executive, the case simply will not be made where it matters and this once-in-a-decade opportunity to get the project over the line will be lost.
“The Narrow Water Bridge has been held up by various factors over the years. Now that the money is finally available in Northern Ireland, all parties need to work together to seize the opportunity and finally make this happen.”