Concerns over the potential loss of a GAA pitch cannot be allowed to hold up progress on the much-needed Newry southern relief road, a South Down MLA has said.
The proposed new road linking the main A1 Belfast-Dublin road with the Warrenpoint dual carriageway would cut through the home of Newry Mitchels GAC, Gerry Brown Park.
But DUP MLA Jim Wells says concerns about that cannot be allowed to stall the “utterly essential” £57m infrastructure project, which is needed to relieve traffic congestion in and around Newry city centre.
“It’s not an historic site. It’s not like they’re trying to put it through Croke Park or somewhere. It’s just a patch of flat green grass,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be a great fan of GAA, but all that’s required is to give them an equivalent pitch at another site in Newry so they can continue their need. Certainly any objections from the club or its supporters should not be allowed to hold up an utterly essential piece of infrastructure for Newry.”
It’s understood talks are already being lined up to ensure the club is compensated and given a new home ground should the road project go ahead as planned.