Belfast Telegraph

Republic backs cross-border bridge

By Linda Stewart

Planning authorities in the Republic have given the green light to build the Narrow Water Bridge — the first north-south bridge since partition.

Planning permission in Northern Ireland for the bridge linking counties Down and Louth was granted last week by Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

The €18m (£14.5m) project will now be vying to secure a share of €30m (£24m) funding from a programme administered by the Special EU Programmes Body called INTERREG IVA.

The bridge will be sited at the scene of the infamous Narrow Water massacre in 1979, when 18 British soldiers were killed in an IRA double bomb ambush attack. On the same day, the IRA killed the Queen’s first cousin, Lord Mountbatten, and family members off the west coast.

The bridge will consist of a control tower and single carriageway bridge supported by cables attached to towers. It will cross the Newry River to the existing A2 roundabout.

The structure crosses the Newry River at Narrow Water to the Omeath Road at the townland of Cornamucklagh, near the village of Omeath, and the total length of the crossing will be approximately 660 metres.

Mr Attwood said the announcement yesterday by An Bord Pleanala will be a tremendous boost for the area.

“Both planning authorities, north and south, and the two councils — Louth and Newry and Mourne — deserve full credit that these planning applications have been processed and approved in around nine months,” he said.

Louth County Council, which made the planning application, hopes the project will be completed by mid-2015. It has invested €900,000 (£730,000) of Irish Government funding in it.

Belfast Telegraph


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