Latest section of Greenway opened
The opening of the Victoria Lock phase of the Carlingford Lough Greenway represents the best of cross-border collaboration, and has given residents of the area, as well as tourists, a world-class facility, guests at the official opening were told.
Members of Louth County Council, including chairperson Cllr. Liam Reilly, Cllr. Ruairi O Murchu and Cllr. Anne Campbell, were joined by their counterparts from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC); TDs Gerry Adams and Declan Breathnach, and invited guests for Friday morning's opening at the Victoria Lock, which is located between Newry and Omeath.
The 5.7km Greenway, which runs from the Dublin Road Bridge in Newry to Victoria Lock, has been open to the public since May 4th and is already proving popular with walkers and cyclists as it provides a traffic-free facility with stunning views.
It will form part of the planned 20km green footpath and cycle way stretching from Newry to Carlingford, linking in with the existing Omeath to Carlingford Greenway, which is due for completion in 2020. It will also link-in with the existing Newry/Portadown/Towpath providing a 52km route all the way from Carlingford to Portadown.
Cllr. Mark Murnin, who is chairperson of NMDDC, said the official opening represented the fruits of many years' hard work in both councils, who worked with each other to bring the project to fruition - turning the once overgrown area along the lough shore into a top class recreational amenity.
Cllr. Murnin described the Greenway, which had the support of the EU through the INTERREG 5A fund, managed by SEUPB, as 'a wonderful example of effective cross-border co-operation to deliver a world-class facility'.
SEUPB, which invested over €3.4 million in the project, was represented by CEO Gina McIntyre,who said she couldn't get over how amazingly beautiful the Greenway's location is. She said the EU funders are 'ready to move to phase two' of the project, with commitments, secured from both the EU and Britain, to future PEACE funding in Ireland.
Another of the Greenway's funders, the Landfill Community Fund, administered by the Ulster Wildlife Trust, was represented by CEO Jennifer Fulton, said they were delighted to see the Greenway located in a richly biodiverse environment, where the facility makes the most of the outstanding natural beauty of the area.
The second phase of the project, which will be overseen by Louth County Council, will take around 18 months to complete. Cllr. Liam Reilly said the Victoria Lock opening will build on the already popular existing Greenway and Louth County Council is proud to be the lead partner in the next phase.
He said the Greenway 'provides a spectacular and majestic' background, linking two communities together, which, when completed, will provide 'a world-class, cross-border greenway that will have a positive impact on people's lives on both sides of the border'.