The newly published National Planning Framework (Project Ireland 2040) includes several references to the Economic Corridor between Newry and Dundalk regions and a recent meeting in Dundalk by the Joint Committee between Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Louth County Council discussed the strengthening of the cross border network.

Newry is mentioned ten times in the Framework with National Policy Objective 44 stating "In co-operation with relevant Departments in Northern Ireland, to further support and develop the economic potential of the Dublin-Belfast Corridor and in particular the core Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry network and to promote and enhance its international visibility."

The Joint Committee meets on a regular basis to monitor and discuss a range of development projects aimed at strengthening links between the two districts.  Anthony Abbott King, Senior Planner from Louth County Council, provided a presentation at the meeting on key areas of the National Planning Framework and in particular cross border references.

Merchant's Quay in Newry has great potential for future investment. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Merchant's Quay in Newry has great potential for future investment. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Mr King informed the Committee that the framework will set the direction of growth for Ireland over the next 20 years, focusing on strengthening the infrastructure and attractiveness of urban centres.  The government has provided a 10 year capital programme for implementation of these targets, which include resources to strengthen and support the Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry cross-border network.

Joint Chairs, Councillor McAteer and Councillor Corrigan welcomed the presentation.  Councillor Corrigan commented, “The Project Ireland Framework has been published at a time of uncertainty with Brexit and a fluctuant economic climate.  I welcome this framework, which has been well structured and look forward to its implementation which will support the Economic Corridor on both sides of the border.”

Councillor McAteer said, “It was very encouraging to see Newry featuring in the Project Ireland Framework.  We as two Councils look forward to working up co-operation actions feeding into the Dublin-Belfast paired cities economic corridor and the marketing of this internationally.

“Both Local Authorities had liaised on the draft consultation document in November 2017 with each submitting a response to the Framework.  This ensured that the content of submissions had a shared message, with both emphasising the value of promoting and developing the Border Corridor between Dundalk and the Newry areas.”

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