Fuelled by 'red tape', bureaucracy plus an "It can't be done" mentality The Sandwich Barge which has sat outside The Quays Shopping Centre in Newry for this past four years will be leaving for good this weekend!

An initiative led by local woman and London resident, Lorraine Fox to trade on her barge as a cafe at the historic Albert Basin in Newry has come to nought and the entrepreneur has decided to take it back to London, where it will be appreciated and most importantly welcomed.

The Sandwich Barge sits outside The Quays in Newry for it's last week. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The Sandwich Barge sits outside The Quays in Newry for it's last week. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Ms Fox brought the barge to Newry in August 2014 and spent many many months and years trying to get a trading license from Newry, Mourne and Down Council, all to no avail.

Missing from the equation was an official who could have championed her cause but it never happened, instead she got moved from pillar to post, one department to another.

Occasionally the barge opened unofficially for a festival, something that always proved popular. Organisers of Iúr Cinn Fleadh much appreciated the wonderful music and food organised to perfection by Lorraine. Sadly no more.

The Albert Basin is an incredible gem in Newry's armoury but it sometimes appears the vision of what is needed to use the area to it's best potential is only seen by members of the public, local waterways and maritime groups and community groups. Newry 2020 championed the provision of a 15 acre public park at the Albert Basin and it's well underway, something that would not have happened otherwise.

A quirky barge selling coffee and home made produce would have attracted visitors and tourists to the Albert Basin area, and then onwards to spend money at The Quays Shopping Centre. Why no one could see this we at will never ever understand.

Regardless it never happened and it possibly never will. How many times have you heard the expression where there’s a will there is a way? It seems there is no will!

Meanwhile The Sandwich Barge will be loaded onto a container this Saturday morning and another potential unique selling point will disappear forever.

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