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Newry.ie has contacted all six Newry City Councillors asking where they stand regarding public concern that the Newry Southern Relief Road project would include a 12 metre fixed bridge over Newry Ship Canal effectively shutting down the 250 year old Canal and the Port of Newry from the outside world.

The SRR project is being brought forward by the Department For Infrastructure and Belfast City Deal funding is expected to go towards paying for it. Newry, Mourne and Down Council own Newry Ship Canal.

We received an answer from or on behalf of five of the six Councillors with the consensus that four of them would NOT allow a 12M fixed bridge to be built as part of the scheme with one saying a lifting bridge was their strongly preferred option.

First to reply to the question "Will you allow a 12M fixed bridge to be built as part of the Southern Relief Road, a structure which would effectively shut down the 250 year old Newry Ship Canal?" was Cllr Gary Stokes who simply said "No"

Tall ship Soteria travels down Newry Ship Canal during Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Tall ship Soteria travels down Newry Ship Canal during Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Next Cllr Liz Kimmins replied saying "Our party’s position would be that we would be supportive of an opening bridge therefore our response is No." We asked Cllr Kimmins if this was Cllr Valerie Harte and Cllr Charlie Casey's reply also and we were assured "Yes, that is on behalf of our party"

Cllr Michael Savage replied saying "A lifting bridge is my strongly preferred option. I believe if we are to do this scheme we must do it right and protect the tourism potential of our waterways and the Albert Basin and ensure all environmental and archeological work is carried out to the highest standards. There would have to be exceptionally strong arguments economically and otherwise to convince me of any other option."

The sixth councillor Cllr Gavin Malone replied that as a new councillor he would find out more information and get back to us. We will update the article if necessary.

The Newry Southern Relief Road aims to link the A2 Warrenpoint Dual Carriageway with the A1 above Cloughogue via a new road travelling across Greenbank Industrial Estate including a bridge across the Clanrye River and Newry Ship Canal and then up over Fathom, across the Flagstaff Road to the A1.

To enable present boat traffic to travel from Victoria Lock to Newry either an opening bridge or a 30 metre high bridge would be needed. This includes tall ships such as the Soteria, Volharding 

Our Question in Full

"The DFI are indicating that a 12 Metre fixed bridge is the Department's preferred option - something that would spell the end of virtually all boat traffic in Newry Ship Canal and prevent access to the historic Albert Basin. Essentially it would be a 'Ship Canal' that can no longer welcome ships! It is the Councils decision whether this is allowed or not as owners of the canal.

The ships used by the Council's City of Merchants Festival, the Iúr Cinn Fleadh festival and virtually all the ships moored at the Albert Basin would not be able to gain access under a 12 metre fixed bridge. They would need a 30 metre clearance minimum.

Question: Will you allow a 12M fixed bridge to be built as part of the Southern Relief Road, a structure which would effectively shut down the 250 year old Newry Ship Canal?"

Consultation

You can share your concerns with the Department for Infrastructure  up untill 23 August 2019 via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. You should title the email subject matter 'Newry Southern Relief Road Phase 3 Public Consultation response' or similar.

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