After many years of campaigning for a 15 acre city park for Newry by local group Newry 2020, Albert Basin Park Project, Community organisations, and other local media, Newry, Mourne and Down Council have for the first time officially acknowledged the project at the Albert Basin site as one of their top priorities, in a press statement released today.

The new park will at long last provide much needed green space, right in the centre of Newry city! As reported earlier this week a task and finish group has been agreed and if all goes to plan via ratification at the May full council meeting, it could meet to start working on the park project as early as next month.

The park is just one of four ongoing major projects which will completely transform Newry city and indeed the entire council district.

The three other undertakings are development of the Southern Relief Road, the new Newry, Mourne and Down Civic Centre and Arts venue and Newry Tech Nation, a ground-breaking tech

The present wasteland of the Albert Basin will be transformed into a world class park! Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The present wasteland of the Albert Basin will be transformed into a world class park! Photograph: Columba O'Hare/


All four projects are moving along at a pace and will make the district an even better place to live and work when completed, the council said.

The projects will bolster Newry’s position as a gateway between north and south to help attract investment and create jobs; will regenerate Newry city centre to promote tourism and increase footfall, will improve Newry’s cultural and conferencing offering and will improve council services and working efficiencies.

The projects

Newry City Park: a group is being established by NMDCC and a range of key stakeholders to commence work on proposals for development of Newry City Park at the Albert Basin site which will provide green space in the centre of the city. Situated on what will be the Carlingford Lough Greenway it has the potential to be a much visited tourist attraction.

The Southern Relief Road: One of the Belfast City Deal projects which will provide an alternative route for strategic traffic which avoids Newry City centre, it has been in consultation on a preferred route.

Civic Centre: NMDCC is actively working to have the Civic Centre and Arts venue open for 2021. The procurement strategy for the centre will be completed within the next two months and the council has received great feedback from developers and contractors who see it as a major project in Northern Ireland.

Newry Tech Nation conference: this new conference will showcase the vibrant technology community in the district – is scheduled for October and looks set to be a must-attend event for everyone who encounters technology on a daily basis.

Roisin Mulgrew, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said “Each of these projects promises to transform the lives of the people who live in the district, the companies who do business here and the tourists who visit. Together they are even more powerful, and will see the region transformed in the next few years.

Proposed plans connecting Newry Town Hall and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre
Proposed plans connecting Newry Town Hall and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre

“We are constantly striving to make the most of the brilliant assets we are lucky to have in the Newry, Mourne and Down District and these projects are in line with that vision.”

Chief Executive Liam Hannaway said “These projects are an essential part of the future of Newry and the surrounding district. They reinforce Newry as a gateway between the north and south, regenerate the city centre, improve the city’s cultural and conferencing offering and will boost civic pride in the city.”

Some of the biggest businesses in the district have thrown their support behind the initiatives.

Clare Guiness, Chief Executive of Warrenpoint Harbour said “Warrenpoint Port is Northern Ireland’s second biggest port facilitating global trade. Effective infrastructure is vital to our continued growth and the economic development of the region. We welcome the progress on the Southern Relief Road, a vital infrastructure project for the district which will improve access to the port and help Northern Ireland compete on a global basis.

“It will reduce congestion, speed up the supply chain, open up the eastern side of Newry to potential industrial development. This is an essential project for the district, and for Northern Ireland. The other projects are also a sign of the continue rejuvenation of the district and will help it become an even better place to work and live.”

Adrian Toner, Chief Operating Officer at First Derivatives, said “As one of the largest employers on the island of Ireland, investment is key to attracting and retaining the talent which drives our business. First Derivatives believes these economic initiatives are important to support the future growth of Newry City as well as companies like ours to sustain growth and job creation in Newry. We would encourage the council to continue to make Newry a vibrant, engaged and attractive city for businesses to locate and grow. From our perspective, it cannot happen quickly enough as we continue to target talent to come and work in our Newry office.”

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