Bridge to the future
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
THE Narrow Water Bridge development would prove the catalyst in kickstarting the area as a tourism hub and revitalise the local economy, according to campaigners.
Jim Boylan, Chairman of the Narrow Water Bridge Community, said that a renewed political will from Governments on both sides of the border could finally see the long-awaited project coming to fruition.
Mr Boylan spoke of productive cross-party talks held in Dublin last week on the issue.
“It is now firmly back on the agenda," said Mr Boylan. "There is a paper going to the North/South Ministerial Commission - which will be meeting in Dublin on June 10, and we hope from a positive outcome from that.
“Last week we were down in the Dail and we met an all-party delegation with Sinn Fein, Fianna Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, which was very positively met."
The group wish to meet with recently appointed Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, in the hope of garnering his support.
“First of all, I'd like to wish Chris well on his new appointment, it's a very onerous task he has to take on and we'll be seeking a meeting with him as soon as possible to further the case of the Narrow Water Bridge," he said.
My Boylan stated that the reason the project failed to get off the ground in the past was two fold, and said: "Funding has been one of the main obstacles but also up until recently there has been a political attitude that has been against it, but we need to understand that this is a major infrastructural project for tourism for north Louth, south Down and south Armagh.
“It's the gateway for opening up tourism and the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network has a presentation that states why this can be an economic catalyst for the whole area."
He talked of springboarding Warrenpoint back to the halcyon times when it was a prime holiday location, saying: "If you take from the early 1900s, Warrrenpoint was the major tourist hub of the whole of south Down, if not in the whole of the North of Ireland.
“We need to get back to that as we've fallen behind badly.
“This is the jewel in the crown of the whole of the island of Ireland and the bridge is a major infrastructure that is the key to all of it."
Olga Fitzpatrick, President of Warrenpoint Chamber of Commerce, believed that the bridge would enable the area to fully capitalise on it's halfway location between Dublin and Belfast, and entice tourists to the locality.
“25 million tourists arrive in Dublin per year," added Ms Fitzpatrick.
“A bridge would be the catalyst to take them off the carriageway between Dublin and Belfast.
“This area needs tourist infrastructure and needs to be developed and the bridge is a catalyst for this."
This section is for discussion on the Narrow Water Bridge project.
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