Louth Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan has sought an update on the Narrow Water Bridge project during a Seanad debate today, Monday May 24th.
Senator McGreehan raised the issue along with her Seanad colleague Senator John McGahon.
Senator McGreehan said: “The Narrow Water Bridge, to me, as a local, is a project that has been talked about for so long.
"It is a symbol of the future and of what can be.
"It is aspirational, but with the shared island fund, that aspiration has become a possibility.
“It is shovel-ready.
"Louth County Council has done incredible work over recent years on this. We need action.
"It is supported and spoken about by An Taoiseach at every opportunity.
"Nichola Mallon, Minister for Infrastructure in the North, is also an incredible sponsor of the project.
"It is important for reasons of morale, tourism and sustainable and active living.”
In a response to Senator McGreehan, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan outlined that the proposal for the Narrow Water bridge has to be considered in light of developments with respect to the Newry southern relief road since 2016.
That road would provide an alternative route for strategic traffic that avoids Newry city centre and links to the eastern seaboard key transport corridor, the A1-N1 from Belfast to Dublin he said.
Minister Noonan added that the overall assessment of the case for the Narrow Water bridge, including in the context of the development of a wider tourism initiative for the region, is not at a stage where it is a clearly defined and a costed scheme.
Senator McGreehan responded to the Minister to say that “The Narrow Water bridge project is about a lot more than a bridge; it is about dreaming and looking to the future. There is so much tourism potential in terms of the creation of this product.
"There is already a bridge and planning for widening it. The Minister of State's remarks are disingenuous because there is a bridge and a plan that is shovel-ready.”
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