The Government has agreed to launch the tender process for the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge, linking the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Peninsula.
Making progress on this iconic project is in line with the priority attached to it by both administrations.
The project is a long-standing Government commitment, included in the Stormont House, Fresh Start and New Decade New Approach agreements and is prioritised in the current Programme for Government, Our Shared Future.
€3m from the Shared Island Fund has enabled Louth County Council, working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to bring the project to tender stage.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said, “I am delighted that the Narrow Water Bridge is now proceeding to tender stage. This is an important and symbolic project for the North-East, directly connecting the Cooley Peninsula to coastal Co. Down, and a project with strong support from communities on both sides of the border.
“The project also brings significant tourism and economic benefits to the region. Along with improving North-South connectivity, the bridge will be at the heart of a range of cross-border greenways, active travel, recreation and outdoor activity amenities planned for the Carlingford Lough area.
“Today’s announcement is an important next step in the delivery of this long-awaited project and another example of the Shared Island Fund in action.”
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD added, “I would like to pay tribute to Louth County Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for their determination and dedication to this project. It is through their cooperation and local expertise that we are able to bring the Narrow Water Bridge to tender.
“This is a huge day for communities in Cooley, Warrenpoint and Newry. Narrow Water Bridge has been talked about for decades, and is now finally becoming a reality, thanks to the work of local community groups, the two Councils and the Shared Island Fund.”
Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin commented, “The Narrow Water Bridge will deliver an unprecedented boost to the North East region as a whole, and will complement tourism and active travel initiatives being jointly developed by Louth County Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
“This project has long been a strategic priority, improving access, strengthening North-South links and deepening connections between communities on both sides of the border.”
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “Enabled by the Shared Island Fund, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has been working closely with Louth County Council to help secure this momentous step forward for the Narrow Water Bridge Project.
“This successful experience in cross border co-operation will help to deliver a wide range of social and economic benefits for the entire region of Newry, Mourne and Down and the Cooley Peninsula. The launch of the tender process will be welcomed by local communities who will enjoy new recreation and active travel opportunities and benefit from further enhancement of the area’s rich tourism offering.”