Southern Relief Road scheme must address concerns of residents and GAA club

October 8, 2018

The concerns of people living in Fathom, as well as members of Newry Mitchels GAC, that will be impacted by the proposed Southern Relief Road must be addressed as the project progresses, SDLP Councillor Michael Savage has said.

While welcoming news that the scheme is to go ahead, he revealed he has held several meetings with residents earlier this year, while also liaising with officials from the Department for Infrastructure on their behalf.

“Newry Mourne and Down Council fully supports this vital infrastructure project which will help sustain and grow our economy in the city and district and assist in the development of Warrenpoint Harbour. I fully support the need for this scheme and agree with the business case for it but also believe that the needs and concerns of the residents of Fathom and the members of Mitchels GAC impacted by the new road must be addressed and their voices heard.”

Councillor Savage says he has received a commitment from DfI officials that they will take the time to engage fully with residents and work through the issues over the coming months.

“I want to see this road scheme completed to boost our economy and ease traffic congestion and reduce high levels of pollution in Newry but I also want to see it completed with the support of residents impacted by it.  This is a very difficult road scheme to engineer and it is important that the time is taken to deal with the environmental, maritime and heritage challenges and ensure that the families who own the nine properties impacted by the scheme, some of whom have lived there for generations are treated fairly by DFI.”

Mr Savage welcomed assurances that full consultation is planned with Newry Mitchels GAC members who will lose their pitch in the proposed scheme.

He said: “I have raised the issue of Newry Mitchels losing its pitch as part of this scheme with those leading the project and I welcome the engagement that is planned between DfI officials to discuss compensating the club and working with Council to find a new home for Mitchels when the road progresses.

“Like the residents of Fathom the members of Mitchels need to have their needs met and a new pitch must be identified and developed before construction.  This new road is a significant boost for Newry and I welcome it, however, the success of the scheme will be judged on the level of partnership reached with the residents and the club that are in its path.”