Concerns that funding could run out out for the completion of the Carlingford to Newry Greenway were allayed at the assembly last week.

The completed Newry section of the Carlingford Lough Greenway. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The completed Newry section of the Carlingford Lough Greenway. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Planning permission is currently being sought for the section between Omeath and Victoria Lock that will complete the project.

Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty had asked for an update on current funding for INTERREG programmes. The project is part financed by the  INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Mr McNulty said "There are concerns that funding may run out for several programmes; for example, the Carlingford to Newry greenway and the Smithborough to Middletown greenway. Can you provide certainty that funding will be provided for the completion of those projects?"

In reply Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said the current programmes are to run their course and that allowance has been made to make sure that they are not interrupted by Brexit.

The Minister also added that the EU has also allowed an extension to the completion and declaration date of programmes that have been interrupted by COVID and had undue delays.

Mr Murphy said "There is an overcommitment in funding, but the expectation is that there has always been an underspend. From the discussions that Minister McGrath and I had with the SEUPB at this meeting, we know that it fully expects to spend out the programmes. The SEUPB expects to meet all the programme costs that it has committed to. We will want to continue to monitor that in the time ahead, but those are the assurances that we were given"

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