Deputy Joe McHugh has today (Wednesday) welcomed confirmation from Minister Kelly that Sustainable Transport on the cards as one of four objectives of Interreg Programme.
In response to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Deputy Joe McHugh TD, the Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly TD, confirmed that both his Department and the Department of Regional Development in Northern Ireland “are anxious to support greenway projects and would welcome any input from Donegal County Council.”
Commenting on the response, Deputy McHugh TD, “I welcome the Minister’s response that the potential funding opportunities for border region greenways and cycleways under Interreg V and the forthcoming EU Structural Funds Programme was discussed during a recent North South Ministerial Council.
“The Committee will be in Armagh this week meeting the Joint Secretariat at the North South Ministerial Council and I will be raising the matter during the visit. There is appetite for financially supporting this type of environmental and community work, with a cross border emphasis.
“I will also be formally contacting Donegal County Council to highlight the potential funding available through Interreg and the offer from the Minister to engage with his Department around any development plans in progress and how to move them forward. The Local Authority and the North West Region Cross Border Group have a key role to play in this too, with a North West cross border element to the project, which has the potential to connect Letterkenny to Burtonport.
“I have been in contact with local groups and organisations in Donegal, like An Craoibhin Centre and Grass Routes who are doing an incredible amount of work to get this project off the ground and as Chairperson of the Joint Committee on the Good Friday Agreement, I have asked that this matter be added to the Committee’s Agenda for discussion. I would encourage the groups to write directly to the Committee, highlighting the work that they are doing and the positive impact it will have on the community.
Already progress has been made in developing the old railway track between Burtonport and Creeslough and the benefits of this progress are already being enjoyed by walkers and cyclists.
“As the Interreg Programme is due to be finalised in September, it is important to recognise that Donegal County Council have a good track record in drawing down funding from previous Interreg programmes and are no doubt working to ensure that this opportunity is seized upon. The positive impact and beneficial results that will come from supporting this project and connecting Derry to Burtonport are without question.”