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Transport Sectoral Format

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 11th May 2009.

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Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin 12:30 pm, 11th May 2009

For someone who considers the Narrow Water bridge project to be pie in the sky and not viable, the Member spends an awful lot of time talking about it. The position on both schemes remains the same. The Irish Government funded Louth County Council to appoint consultants to carry out a study on the bridge project, and that study is ongoing. Some public presentations have been made, and further work is under way. I am not aware of what the Irish Government will do beyond that point. They will take a decision when the work that Louth County Council has been tasked to carry out is completed, and I will await that decision.

The Narrow Water bridge project is not designed to address the issue of freight, transport or connectivity between Warrenpoint port and the Belfast to Dublin road. The southern relief road scheme, however, is designed to address those issues and will have a greater impact on improving traffic congestion and freight transport from the port. Therefore, it is unfair to compare the two schemes in that respect. Nonetheless, I have received a preliminary report on the southern relief road scheme. More work on it is being considered, and I hope to be able to launch that work at some stage in the future.