Your newspaper in common with much of the local media has reported regularly on the efforts of local people over many years to have a bridge built at Narrow Water. Indeed you shared the deep disappointment felt by the people of the Carlingford Lough Area when the project, having received the go-ahead from both governments North and South plus substantial funding from the EU failed to materialise.
In the light of all that has happened it was particularly galling to read a front-page report in the Irish Times of the 5th of November that “government sources” in Dublin regarded the bridge at Narrow Water as “a vanity project” and implied that it would have no impact on the “real economy”. Such a claim, if truly representative of the Coalition’s current thinking, appears to ignore the fact that the decision to proceed with the project was based on an economic appraisal! This appraisal, accepted by the Special EU Projects Body, indicated that the Narrow Water Bridge project had a realistic expectation of delivering up to 120 full time equivalent jobs apart from the estimated 50 jobs during the construction phase!
It is a credo of economic development that development follows communications. The bridge at Narrow Water continues to represent the most basic and critical piece of infrastructure to enhance closer economic cooperation and development for the people of the Carlingford Lough Area.
Ahead of a potential break-through in the current Stormont talks we will be asking politicians of all shades to re-engage with the Narrow Water Bridge - a lifeline project to the 'real economy' of the South Down, South Armagh and North Louth area.
This section is for discussion on the Narrow Water Bridge project.
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The Chairman of the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network, Jim Boylan expressed great disappointment that a firm commitment to build the bridge at Narrow Water did not feature in the new Stormont agreement.
However the acceptance by the Dublin government that the Narrow Water Bridge as set out in the Fresh Start document ‘would provide a valuable North-South link between counties Louth and Down with potential to provide jobs and a significant boost to tourism in the area’ is indeed to be welcomed according to Mr Boylan.
Jim Boylan also said that the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network is looking forward to working with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government both of which have agreed to carry out a review of the project to identify options for its future development.
The campaign to have a bridge built at Narrow Water has been going for many years in the Carlingford Lough area. There was great disappointment in 2013 when the EU withdrew its offer of funding following the failure of both governments to meet an overrun on the original costings.