Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, and Minister Malcolm Noonan visited the site of the Narrow Water Bridge in Co Louth on Tuesday, June 4 to announce that construction is commencing.

Harris, Martin, and Noonan were joined by Northern Ireland's Minister for Infrastructure John O’Dowd MLA.

The Narrow Water Bridge is a longstanding commitment of the Government, reflected in the Programme for Government and New Decade, New Approach agreement, the Department of the Taoiseach said on Tuesday.

An allocation of €102m + VAT is being made from the Shared Island Fund for the contract to deliver this project.

It was reported earlier in May that BAM Ireland had been awarded the contract for the project. 

Government announces commencement of construction of the Narrow Water Bridge.

The 195 metre cable-stayed bridge will connect Cornamucklagh near Omeath, Co Louth with Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, Co. Down.

👉https://t.co/plqLnqQlrd pic.twitter.com/gYIrbZV9U6

— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) June 4, 2024

The Department of the Taoiseach said on Tuesday that the ambitious infrastructure project will provide new tourism and connectivity potential to the east border region and is anticipated to aid local economic development by increasing employment levels and visitor footfall.

It will be a lynchpin connection for cross-border active travel and recreational activities in the Carlingford Lough region including greenways, mountain bike trails, walking routes, and beaches.

When complete, the 195m cable-stayed bridge will connect Cornamucklagh near Omeath, Co Louth with Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, Co Down, providing a direct link between the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Peninsula, where Carlingford Lough meets the Newry River.

The bridge is designed for vehicular, cycle, and pedestrian traffic and will connect the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway with the R173 Omeath. It will also have the ability to open to allow for the passage of ships through and on to the Newry Canal.

Taoiseach Simon Harris TD said on Tuesday: “The Shared Island Unit was set up by the coalition for this very reason - to bring about visionary projects for the whole island that had long been sought after but not yet realised.

"I want to pay tribute to the communities and politicians from all parties and none in both Ireland and Northern Ireland who campaigned for a Narrow Water Bridge for decades.

"The mountains meet the sea all along this stretch of stunning coastline and this bridge will be a game-changer for commerce, daily life and tourism in this part of our shared island.”

The Taoiseach said that the Narrow Bridge will be open in 2027.

Video: "This bridge will be a game-changer for commerce, daily life and tourism in this part of our #SharedIsland."

Taoiseach @SimonHarrisTD, Tánaiste @MichealMartinTD and Minister @Noonan_Malcolm announced that construction is commencing on the Narrow Water Bridge today. pic.twitter.com/EISgPyw7pt

— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) June 4, 2024

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “When I first established the Shared Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach, there was one project that was always front and centre of my mind - the Narrow Water Bridge.

"This project is a clear physical manifestation of the philosophy underpinning Shared Island. It embodies our ambition for reconciliation, a closer relationship between North and South, and progress.

"Today is the realisation of a vision long shared across this stretch of water, delivering on the desire of both communities to reach out, to connect and to grow together.”

Delighted to mark construction commencing on a key Shared Island project, the Narrow Water Bridge.

This project embodies our ambition for reconciliation and a closer relationship between Ireland North and South. pic.twitter.com/g4TGAdENnE

— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) June 4, 2024

Martin was Taoiseach when, in June 2021, he announced €3 million in funding from the Shared Island Fund to progress work on the Narrow Water Bridge.

In November 2022, he announced that the project had gone to tender.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said: “In linking the Mourne Mountains in Co Down with the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth, this bridge will serve not just as a physical infrastructure project but a symbol of community, togetherness and hope.

"It is funded by the Shared Island Fund, and it embodies the vision, values, and purpose of that fund perfectly.”

Minister of State Malcolm Noonan TD said: “The project is already creating new opportunities and deepening connections between communities on both sides of the border.

"It is a testament to Louth County Council and officials in my own department and one that will endure as an outstretched hand of friendship between communities.”

Lá stairiúil. A historic day as I joined An Taoiseach, Tanaiste and NI Infrastructure Minister at the commencement of the Narrow Water Bridge Project.

Connecting communities in the Mournes and Cooley will help transform this beautiful part of our island. pic.twitter.com/oTruSknDvU

— Malcolm Noonan T.D. (@noonan_malcolm) June 4, 2024

Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin said: “I am delighted to welcome the commencement of works at the Narrow Water Bridge site, a project which will provide an unprecedented boost to the cross-border region as a whole.

"It has been a long-standing strategic priority for Louth County Council, which will deliver a key piece of infrastructure, improving access to the wealth of tourist attractions we have in this area.

"This historic bridge will stand as a symbol of the connections that bind communities north and south.”

Welcome to Omeath Taoiseach @SimonHarrisTD and Tánaiste @MichealMartinTD! It was a landmark day for @louthcoco, celebrating the commencement of works at Narrow Water Bridge with invited guests from both sides of the border at the scenic pier. #Louth #YourCouncil @LocalGovIre pic.twitter.com/irv4YwxMT4

— Louth County Council (@louthcoco) June 4, 2024

Northern Ireland's Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said: “This is an historic and significant day for the people of this area.

"I have no doubt that this new bridge will be a game-changer for many reasons.

"The bridge will provide a poignant symbol of connection between the north and south. It will play its part connecting communities on both sides of Carlingford Lough and in doing so it will create opportunities for local tourism, as well as the local economy by providing an increase in visitor footfall and employment levels.

"It will serve as a vital element of cross-border active travel while facilitating greenways, mountain bike trails, walking routes, and beaches in the Carlingford Lough region.

"This new landmark is a perfect example of the difference infrastructure projects can make in people’s lives.”