Plans for a bridge connecting Co Louth to Co Down have been dealt a major blow after the Government confirmed to Fianna Fáil that it will not provide any of the additional funding required for the project.
In reply to a Parliamentary Question from Louth TD Seamus Kirk, the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar outlined his refusal to meet any of the funding shortfall required for the Narrow Water Bridge project.
Deputy Kirk, who has campaigned for the bridge for many years, has accused Minister Varadkar of washing his hands of a project that has been years in the making and could have major economic benefits for the border region.
“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated at the attitude of the Fine Gael Minister,” said Deputy Kirk.
“Successive Governments have put years of work into this proposal, support from Europe has been secured, we successfully lobbied the North’s Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to release the funding for the project and now the Irish Government is prepared to let it all disintegrate as it rules out making as little as €6million extra available to make up the shortfall.
“This Government talks about the need to invest in jobs and expects to have as much as €750 million extra available to invest after the sale of Bord Gais Energy. Construction of the Narrow Water Bridge is a blindingly obvious project to help job creation – not just in its construction, but in the economic activity it will unlock in Cooley and South Down. And yet, Minister Leo Varadkar is content to close the door on it. Even at this late hour, I am calling on the Minister to think again, to visit the region to see the transformative effect it will have and to commit support.”