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Taoiseach backs Narrow Water bridge project

Words: Roger Milne
County Louth

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted that the Irish Government should remain fully committed to building a bridge at Narrow Water to link counties Down and Louth.

The Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) had pledged €17.4 million (£14.5 million) towards the project, but withdrew its offer because additional funding has not been found.

Kenny said planning for the cross-border bridge near Warrenpoint, the site of one of the worst atrocities of ‘the Troubles’, should go ahead if it made financial sense.

“This government remains fully committed,” he said, adding: “There has to be economic justification for these decisions. We had full support for this, but the tender process was very much out of line with the eventual estimates.”

The 195-metre long cable-stayed bridge has been in the planning process for at least five years. It had been hoped that it would be open by this year.

Stormont’s Finance Department was the last body to commit to fund the scheme, with £2.7 million (€3.6 million) allocated to the bridge.

Narrow Water was the place where 18 British paratroopers were blown up by a remote-controlled roadside bomb in 1979.