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€5m Shared Island Local Authority Development Fund will foster positive North – South relations – O’Dowd

5th April 2022 - Fergus O'Dowd TD

The €5 million Shared Island Local Authority Development Fund announced today will further strengthen and drive relations both North and South, according to Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd.

Deputy O’Dowd was speaking following the announcement by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke that the fund is inviting applications that will drive stronger cooperation between local authorities across our border counties, including in his own constituency of Louth.

Deputy O’Dowd, Chairperson of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, said, “This funding will further enhance the work to date of the Shared Island Unit which is fostering better connections and relations between North and South.

“As a border TD and Chair of the Good Friday Committee, I am acutely aware of the positive impact cross border projects can have on local communities and I will be encouraging our local authorities to focus on tourism and cultural led proposals with neighbouring authorities.

“Proposals which may be considered include tourism and recreation on a cross-border basis – walking routes; mountain bike trails; active travel opportunities; food trails; collaborative education; training or skills provision and enterprise development.

“A project in my own constituency that is separately progressing through the Shared Island Fund includes The Narrow Water Bridge. The bridge will connect Cornamucklagh near Omeath, Co Louth with Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, Co Down, with initial funding of €3m approved in June of last year.

“I was pleased to receive recent assurances that Government is committed in its support for this important project, with funding for future years to be determined once firm costings are available and the tender development process has been completed.

“Economic development must be at the forefront of our shared island strategy. We must be cognisant of the importance of safeguarding our respective cultures, while also having cross-border consensus and cooperation to work for the betterment of our communities.

“We have already seen the devasting impact Brexit has had on our island and now we are confronted with the effects of a horrific war unfolding in Europe. Now more than ever, we must double down on our efforts to support and promote peace and development on our island.” Deputy O’Dowd concluded.

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