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Newry and Mourne councillors have announced an emergency action plan to deal with the city's traffic chaos

in the run up to Christmas. The measures come at a time when there are concerns that traders' hopes of a lucrative Christmas could be scuppered by traffic jams throughout the city.

The congestion caused by the invasion of bargain hungry

cross-border attracted by the recent cut in VAT, has seen three mile long tail backs on the Dublin road.

The action plan will see signs placed at the top of the Dublin road indicating alternative entry points and the opening of free temporary car parks at North Street flats and on Catherine Street.

Newry's Southern Regional College and land behind Newry Arts Centre will also be made available to facilitate shoppers unable to find parking.

Meanwhile staff of the Quays shopping centre will be permitted to park in St Christopher's Park.

Extra police patrols in the city and traffic marshalls directing traffic will also be introduced to keep traffic in the city moving.

The special measures were announced following an emergency meetings of councillors two weeks ago.

The PSNI, Newry Chamber of Commerce and the DOE attended the meetings to draw up the plan to combat congestion threatening an otherwise bumper Christmas for the city's retailers.

Congratulating all those involved in reaching the agreement, councillor Burns predicted that it will ensure that traffic congestion was kept at a minimum.

"Newry is widely acknowledged as being one of the retail centres of excellence in Ireland," he said.

"Our euro zone initiative has been very popular and we want to maximise the number of people who shop in our city. "I hope these measures will make shopping in Newry an enjoyable experience."

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