“this Department is not in a position to proceed any further with the Narrow Water Bridge project”

When it was announced in February 2008, the proposed “lovely looking bridge” at Narrow Water, Co Down, to link the Omeath to Newry Road in Co Louth with the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint road, Co Down, produced an unseemly scramble by three then-members of the Northern Ireland Executive.  By contrast, as far as I can tell, the latest news of the project has been met by silence…

From Dáil written answers 5 July

 627.  Deputy Seamus Kirk  Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   the position regarding the bridge over narrow water project between County Louth and County Down; the timescale for completion of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18207/11]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993.  Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants.

Louth County Council submitted an economic appraisal and the completed Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project to the National Roads Authority (NRA). These reports were reviewed by NRA on behalf of my Department and the NRA recently submitted their report with recommendations in relation to this project. I have examined this report and recommendations and based on the economic appraisal, the current financial circumstances, competing demands from other local authorities for strategic schemes which have a better benefit/cost ratio, this Department is not in a position to proceed any further with the Narrow Water Bridge project, and beyond 2011 no further funding will be made available for it. [added emphasis]