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Politicians rapped for Narrow Water bridge U-turn

By Noel McAdam

Published 05/01/2016

Furious: Margaret Richie
Furious: Margaret Richie

An SDLP MP has accused Stormont and Dublin of "political ineptitude" over the failure to develop the Narrow Water Bridge project.

Margaret Ritchie said the people of south Down and Co Louth have been "seriously let down" after European Union money earmarked for the bridge was withdrawn. She warned that electoral promises for major infrastructure projects did not appear to include the bridge near Warrenpoint.

The South Down MP's attack came after Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen said she was unaware of any plans to bring the plan back to life.

She said the proposal was made and sponsored primarily as a tourism project under the European Union's INTERREG IV programme.

Answering a question from Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane, she said: "My department has, and has had, very limited interaction with the original project, other than on those matters relating to bridge orders and licensing.

"I am unaware of any specific intentions in bringing the project back to life, although I have heard speculation in news reports."

Ms Ritchie said: "This is a project which could have a transformative effect on our economy and on North/South partnership, and yet it has been beset by delays and political ineptitude which have seriously let down the people of south Down and Louth.

"We have already heard shallow electoral promises about infrastructure projects but it seems that Narrow Water Bridge didn't even deserve a mention."

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