MONAGHAN-ARMAGH GREENWAY INITIATIVE WELCOMED – BUT COLR MCKENNA CRITICAL OF EFFORTS TO SECURE FUNDING FOR ULSTER CANAL PROJECT

17 July 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

Plans to develop a new cross-Border initiative that would see the greenway development in Co Monaghan along the route of the Ulster Canal extended into Co Armagh were given a generally positive reaction by the members of Monaghan Co Council at their July meeting.

However, Sinn Féin councillor Brian McKenna voiced strong criticism of the efforts made at Government level over the past two decades to put in place the substantial funding necessary to guarantee that the reopening of the Canal – long identified as a crucial project for Co Monaghan tourism – was realised in full.

A degree of reinforcement was lent Colr McKenna’s stance during a presentation to the meeting by Gerry Finn of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly.

“Without State support, it is going to be very difficult to ever achieve the reopening of the Ulster Canal,” Mr Finn told the meeting in response to questions from the members.

Earlier, Director of Services Paul Clifford had presented a report to the meeting on the latest developments regarding the canal project, stating that the North South Ministerial Council had agreed to give Waterways Ireland the new role of being lead partner in the development of a greenway along the route or linear corridor of the Ulster Canal from Castle Saunderson in Co Cavan to Charlemont in Co Armagh.

The report continued: “Waterways Ireland is assigned to undertake the role of lead partner on this project with the support of the relevant Councils and other stakeholders.

“A sum of between €10 million-€15 million has been allocated under the Interreg Programme 2014-2020 towards the development of 80km of cycleways to promote cross-Border inter-modal and sustainable mobility in the region. Eight potential greenway projects throughout the eligible area will have access to the programme and the timeframe for the development of a project is short.

“Waterways Ireland hosted a meeting in Monaghan on 30 June 2014 with officials from East Border Region Ltd, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough District Council …

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