Fáilte Ireland back cross-border bridge project
Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, has welcomed the proposed development of a bridge across the Newry River at Narrow Water between Omeath, Co Louth and Warrenpoint, Co Down. The authority’s board members unanimously endorsed the development at a meeting on Wednesday (Feb 29th), saying, “it will deliver significant benefits for tourism in the region.”
Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman, Fáilte Ireland, said, “There is widespread recognition of the potential that exists in the area surrounding Carlingford Lough, both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in terms of tourism development. Fáilte Ireland continues to actively work with Louth Local Authorities and other partners to develop tourism in the area. We consider that the attractiveness of the Mourne and Cooley mountain ranges with Carlingford Lough in between would be greatly enhanced nationally and internationally from the physical linkage facilitated by the new bridge. Significant benefits should arise from the two areas being able to function as a single tourism destination with a significantly enhanced appeal for overseas and domestic visitors.”
Describing it as an ‘important project’, O’Donoghue continued, “The proposed bridge will facilitate easier access to a wider range of things to see and do. Consequently, the region is likely to attract more visitors and longer stays. Both of these factors will result in increased tourism spending in the locality, generating strong economic gains across the region. The bridge also has the potential to increase traffic between the new Mourne Coastal Drive and the Boyne Valley Drive that Louth County Council and Meath County Council have been developing.”
Welcoming the endorsement from Fáilte Ireland, Conn Murray, County Manager, Louth Local Authorities, said, “We are very pleased with the support from the body with national responsibility for tourism development. This underlines a central part of our case for the bridge at Narrow Water – the impact it can have in connecting two of the most scenic areas on the entire island. Visitors appreciate a seamless experience and the proposed bridge can have a very valuable impact in delivering that for those who come to experience all that north Louth and south Down have to offer.”
“Tourism Ireland, who are responsible for promoting the entire island as a tourism destination have also identified this region’s tremendous potential. The backing from Fáilte Ireland coincides with a very supportive visit to the proposed bridge site by the US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, and this backing reaffirms our commitment to the project,” he added.
Planning applications in respect of Narrow Water Bridge are currently before An Bord Pleanála as a strategic infrastructure development and the Department of Environment/Planning Northern Ireland. Funding for the project is being sought under the INTERREG IVA Programme for Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. This European Union supported Structural Funds Programme seeks to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders.
Louth County Council has committed funding to continue the detailed design and planning process with a view to the bridge project being completed by the end of 2015.
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