Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú highlighted the Narrow Water Bridge project during a debate with Taoiseach Michéal Martin on the ‘Shared Island Unit’.
Deputy Ó Murchú told the Taoiseach that he wished the Shared Island Unit ‘would go further in certain fields’ and called again for a citizens’ assembly on Irish unity, after Mr Martin said there had been a large amount of dialogue and engagement because of the unit.
“There are only benefits to be had in relation to a dialogue and engagement with all. That is why I have previously asked for a citizens' assembly. Those who will be offended will be offended by this or by any of the conversations taking place at this time on unity.”
‘”We need to grasp that issue and plan for what is becoming, in an awful lot of people's eyes, a reality coming down the road. That is the situation as it is. ‘It has been entwined with the politics of the British Government on Brexit and the protocol.”
“On Narrow Water Bridge, are we still looking at in or around 2023 as the time to begin building? Is there a timeline for delivery and ensuring we have the finances for what is an absolutely necessary piece of infrastructure?”
In response to the Louth TD, the Taoiseach said: “Within the Good Friday Agreement, the constitutional position is provided for in terms of how that advances. Before we get there, a lot of work has to be done and a lot of engagement is required”.
On the issue of the bridge across Carlingford Lough, Mr Martin said: “I am determined to get it over the line through the local authority. In the documentation we have provided, there is €3 million for tendering and all that."
“I want progress to be made and co-operation the whole way. One single agenda is to get that over the line.”