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Today saw the official opening of the latest stretch of the Carlingford Lough Greenway and it's planned that the complete route will be open in 2020.

The 5.7km path runs from Victoria Lock to Newry on a route between Newry Ship Canal and the Clanrye River and will ultimately arrive in Newry, in the centre of the new world class 15 acre Newry City Park at the Albert Basin which is in the planning stage at present.

Cllr Mark Murnin, Chairman, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Cllr Liam Reilly, Cathaoirleach, Louth County Council try out the new stretch of the Carlingford Lough Greenway between Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry, which was officially opened today. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Cllr Mark Murnin, Chairman, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and Cllr Liam Reilly, Cathaoirleach, Louth County Council try out the new stretch of the Carlingford Lough Greenway between Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry, which was officially opened today. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

A large crowd of supporter, council officials from Newry, Mourne and Down and Louth as well as contractors who worked on the project attended todays event, declaring the extremely popular greenway stretch open.

The route has been in use only since May but already is very popular with cyclists, runners and walkers 24/7.

Enhancing the Border Region

Speaking at the event the Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr Mark Murnin said: "I would like to pay tribute to the staff in each partner organisation for their foresight and commitment in developing this genuinely cross border project and in securing a significant amount of EU funding for its implementation. I look forward to returning in the future to see the finished greenway which will greatly enhance our cross border region”.

Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council Cllr Liam Reilly added “We’re delighted to be working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and East Border Region on this greenway, which, when completed, will see commuters and tourists alike able to travel from Carlingford to Newry on foot or by bike on a scenic, safe and traffic-free route.”

Workers on the new stretch of the Carlingford Lough Greenway between Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry. From left: Brendan McCabe, Mark Hughes and Danny Meagher, Canal Maintenence Squad and Shane Bonner, Contractor, Quinns Contractors. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Workers on the new stretch of the Carlingford Lough Greenway between Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry. From left: Brendan McCabe, Mark Hughes and Danny Meagher, Canal Maintenence Squad and Shane Bonner, Contractor, Quinns Contractors. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The new stretch builds on the recently completed and already popular Carlingford Marina to Omeath Greenway. This scheme is scheduled to be completed in 2020 and will incorporate a Greenway Activity programme to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling and walking.

Funding

Initially funding was secured by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council through the Landfill Communities Fund administered by Ulster Wildlife and DAERA to complete the Greenway from Newry to the Weir on the Middlebank.

Newry Mourne and Down Council in partnership with Louth County Council and East Border Region then secured funding of 3.46 Million euros from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), to deliver the Carlingford Lough Cross Border Greenway.

Match-funding for the project under the INTERREG VA Programme has been provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland.

When completed, the Carlingford Lough Greenway will provide a world-class cross-border green travel route. The project will extend for approximately 20 km from Newry City to Carlingford, providing a much needed recreational facility for this area. When fully completed, it will link with the existing Newry/ Portadown Cycleway/Towpath resulting in a total length of 52km of Greenway along the East coast of Ireland enabling walkers and cyclists to travel off-road between Belfast and Dublin using Sustrans Route 9 (The Great Eastern Greenway). It will see commuters and tourists alike able to travel from Carlingford to Newry on foot or by bike on a scenic, safe and traffic-free route.

Guests at the official opening of the Newry to Victoria Lock section of the Carlingford Lough Greenway. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Guests at the official opening of the Newry to Victoria Lock section of the Carlingford Lough Greenway. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Welcoming the completion of this stage of the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB said: “I am delighted to see that this important section of the project has been constructed and that the greenway is in progress for its final completion. The project will help us to deliver upon the important sustainable transport objective of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme. It will create a new travel link that will encourage commuters to get out of their cars and choose a more environmentally friendly way to cross the border. This will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality now and in the future,” she continued.

Chief Executive of Ulster Wildlife, Jennifer Fulton said: “This project has demonstrated partnership at its best and we are delighted to have helped Newry Mourne and Down District Council secure funding through their contributions to the Landfill Communities Fund for the first phase of the Carlingford Lough Greenway.

One objective of the Landfill Communities Fund is to develop amenities that directly benefit the general public. This is consistent with the strategic goal of Ulster Wildlife to improve health and well-being by allowing families and people of all ages to get outdoors and take exercise, particularly important in today’s world of modern technology.”

This route  will form part of the Great Eastern Greenway, which once completed, will provide a traffic-free link from Carlingford to Portadown via Newry.

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