No Sinn Féin invite to Bridge meeting invokes anger

August 2, 2011

by Brónagh Murphy

Sinn Fein representatives on Newry and Mourne District Council have criticised a Fine Gael TD for failing to invite members to a meeting he recently convened to discuss the future of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge project, saying his failure to do so is in contravention of the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this year between Newry and Mourne and Louth County Councils.

The meeting with the Republic’s Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, Louth County Council and Newry and Mourne Council, was arranged by Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick, although it appears Sinn Fein party members were unaware that the meeting was taking place.

On behalf of the Councillors, Group Leader Jimmy McCreesh revealed that Councillors first learned about the event through media reports and says they are insulted and disappointed that no invitation had been extended to the party, which, with 14 seats, is the largest on Newry and Mourne Council.

Having contacted senior executives in NMDC to ask why Sinn Fein councillors were not invited to attend, Mr McCreesh says he was told that no such invitation had been extended from Mr Fitzpatrick.

“It is a pity that Mr Fitzpatrick does not appear to have gone through the correct channels in Newry Council as he would have been made aware of the signing, some months ago, of a Memorandum of Understanding in the European Parliament in Brussels between Louth Local Authorities and Newry & Mourne Council, which created a joint committee to look at issues of importance to both counties,” Mr McCreesh said.

“This committee would have been the appropriate place for such a discussion and should have been represented at this meeting with Minister Varadkar.  It is extremely insulting that, as the largest group on Newry Council with 14 representatives, Sinn Féin had to read about this meeting in the press.

“As a follow up I have requested an urgent meeting of the Joint Committee to discuss possible next steps in the fight to save the Narrow Water Bridge project from becoming the victim of cutbacks.”