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Narrow Water Bridge project was on at NI talks

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An image of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge at Omeath, which has now been scuppered by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar

An image of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge at Omeath, which has now been scuppered by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar

An image of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge at Omeath, which has now been scuppered by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar

The Narrow Water bridge project was raised at the Christmas negotiations at Stormont between the Northern parties and the two governments, it has been revealed.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he raised the issue of the cross-border bridge at the marathon talks session and urged the government to 'turn words into action', especially after Taoiseach Enda Kenny committed significant cash to other infrastructure projects being developed in the North.

Mr Adams called for 'words to be turned into action so that the hugely important project can now proceed'.

In its contribution to a financial package as part of the Stormont House Agreement, the government reaffirmed its commitment to the project.

Mr Adams said: 'Sinn Féin has pursued this issue for some considerable time now. We have consistently raised it with the Irish government and I did so again during the negotiations which led to the Stormont House Agreement.

'The Narrow Water Bridge is a hugely important infrastructure project that can provide jobs for a region in desperate need of them and a significant boost to the local economy.

'It would also be a hugely valuable north- south link. It has the support of all of the parties in Louth, south Down and south Armagh.

'So far the project has not gone ahead because the Government failed to provide the financial investment needed to supplement funding from local councils and the European Union'.

But during the recent inter-party talks, the government also reaffirmed its commitment to provide €25 million in each of the years 2015 and 2015 as a contribution to the A5 road project.

It also committed to examining the scope for further financial commitments to the A5 project in the context of the forthcoming capital expenditure programme.

The government, as part of its contribution to a financial package, said it is committed to developing another north-south link - the Ulster Canal.

And while these commitments 'are to be welcomed', Mr Adams said: 'In relation to Narrow Water Bridge, I sincerely hope that the government's reaffirmation of its support for the project will see the current situation turned around.

'We really need to see these fine words now matched by action. Every effort must be made to ensure that this time the bridge is built'.

Irish Independent