Fianna Fáil Louth TD Seamus Kirk has called on the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to increase his contact with Minister Sammy Wilson in the Northern Executive on the Narrow Water bridge project. It follows Parliamentary Questions between Deputy Kirk and Minister Gilmore in the Dáil.
Deputy Kirk said: “I welcome the fact that the Tánaiste personally raised the issue of the Narrow Water bridge with the First Minister Peter Robison on April 29th last at the North-South Ministerial Council meeting in Belfast. However, I am urging the Tánaiste to maintain a high level of contact on this matter.
“In reply to Parliamentary Questions I raised with Minister Gilmore he informed the Dáil that he is “conscious that concerns have been expressed about the delay in giving the project final approval.” I also welcome from his reply that at a meeting chaired by Minister Sammy Wilson, it was noted “that it was important the small number of projects still outstanding must be approved in a timely manner.
“This is very positive, however, the Narrow Water bridge project remains stalled in the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) approval process. Minister Gilmore says “DFP has indicated that it is fully aware of the high level of interest in the project, that it is conscious of the urgent timelines involved, and that it is working to complete all necessary processes as quickly as possible.
“I am urging the Minister to maintain direct contacts with Minister Wilson and his office on this matter. The Narrow Water bridge has the capacity to create immediate employment as well as boost tourism across the region and foster greater community co-operation and engagement. It will be an historic day if the project can successfully be brought to a conclusion but that will require positive and continued engagement from the government here,” concluded Deputy Kirk.