Exciting Initiatives Announced at 1st Anniversary Celebrations

In March 2011, Louth Local Authorities and Newry and Mourne District Council signed a unique Memorandum of Understanding committing the Joint Local Authorities to promote, strengthen and stimulate social, cultural and economic links between the people of the region.

Joint Chairperson  Cllr Jimmy McCreesh and Mayor of Dundalk Cllr Oliver Tully , watch over Mayor Charlie Casey as he signs the historic Memorandum of Understanding. Photo Mark Pearce  Described by Senior European Officials, Members of the European Parliament and local political and economic leaders as a first in Europe, the Memorandum of Understanding also commits the Joint local authorities to support and promote the economic development and competitiveness of the region.

One year on the Louth / Newry and Mourne Joint Committee are celebrating their achievements and performance in delivering the objectives set out in the agreement.

Since the signing of the agreement, the joint local authorities have been busy putting in place the necessary structures to deliver on the agreed objectives.  These include:

  • Establishment of a joint management team incorporating the Chief Executive / County Manager and Directors of the participating Councils who meet quarterly to direct and support the cross border activities of the Councils.
  • Establishing the Louth / Newry and Mourne Joint Committee which includes 16 elected members and is chaired jointly by Councillor Jimmy McCreesh (Newry and Mourne) and Councillor Declan Breathnach (Louth County Council).  The joint committee provides the political leadership to drive forward the co-operation themes and joint actions embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Creation of the Louth / Newry and Mourne Charter of Commitment which was signed in April 2011 by local political community and private sector stakeholders from across the region.  These included signatories from the Chambers of Commerce in Newry, Dundalk, Warrenpoint, Ardee, Crossmaglen, Drogheda and Kilkeel, as well as the Joint Secretariat of the North South Ministerial Council, Louth Economic Forum, Confederation of Community Groups, Special EU Programmes Body, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, East Border Region Committee and others.  In signing up to the Joint Charter of Commitment the wider community has endorsed and lent its support to the joint local authorities.

At a special event to celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Louth / Newry and Mourne Joint Committee made three significant announcements: 

  1. Confirmation that £1.4 million Interreg Funding will be secured by the Councils, and the East Border Region Committee, to deliver the Mournes – Cooley – Ring of Gullion Geotourism Project.  Tourism represents one of the four main pillars of the MOU and the Geo-tourism Project will be the cornerstone of a unique destination at the heart of this Islands Eastern Seaboard Corridor, stretching from the Boyne Valley, through the Cooley Mountains and Ring of Gullion across Carlingford Lough and into the Kingdom of Mourne.  The Interreg funding, which will be drawn down in two strands, will develop the Geotourism brand and lead to the development of a programme of capital projects throughout the region.
  2. Newry and Mourne District Council will become the first local authority in the North to sign up to the World Health Organisation Age Friendly Cities Dublin Declaration.  Taking their lead from Louth County Council, which was the first Local Authority in the Republic to sign up to the Declaration, Newry and Mourne formally signed the Charter at the Anniversary event in Newry on Friday 30 March.  The signing of the Declaration will set in train a comprehensive programme of activity to include the establishment of an Age Friendly Strategic Alliance and an older Peoples Forum.
  3. Launch of the Low Carbon Business Network. Funding of €968,000 has been secured from the Interreg IV(A) programme to deliver the East Border Region Low Carbon Business Network (LCBN).  Led by Louth County Council, the aim of the LCBN is to establish the East Border Region as a leading region in the development of low carbon technologies and to become a lead driver of regional sustainable economic development.

SIGNING the unique Memorandum of Understanding, back row, Rodd Bond, director netwell centre, Con Murray, county manager louth county council, Tom McCall, CEO Newry and Mourne District Council, front row, Declan Breathnach, joint committee chairman, Mayor Newry and Mourne, Charlie Casey, Oliver Tully, Mayor Louth county council and Jimmy McCreesh. Photo Mark PearceThe promotion of sustainable development to include energy efficiency and the use of renewable technology is a further pillar of the Memorandum of Understanding between Newry and Mourne and Louth.  

Building on the previously acknowledged successes of the Dundalk Sustainable Energy Zone and the EU Concerto project, Newry City has established its own Newry Low Carbon City Zone.  One of the most recent achievements in the Newry initiative has been the creation of 21 Charging Points for electric vehicles throughout the City which will be launched formally in the near future.

The Louth / Newry and Mourne Joint Committee would take this opportunity to acknowledge the key roles played by the East Border Region, Special EU Programmes Body and Mourne Heritage Trust in supporting the aims and objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding.