Donegal County Council welcomes the fact that Derry City and Strabane District Council has received a formal letter of offer for €14.85 million from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme to proceed with the North West greenways project that will lead to the provision of 46.5km of new cross border greenways across the Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council regions. The project has also successfully provided over €2m worth of cross border employment with eight new posts created between both Councils to support the scheme.
The project is being led by Derry City and Strabane District Council with the support of its project partners Donegal County Council, Transport NI and Sustrans. The project is funded through the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme which is administered by SEUPB, with match funding provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland.
Welcoming progress with the project, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle said that in addition to the environmental benefits there was significant investment in cross border employment with seven new posts amounting to a value of €2m between both Councils to support the scheme.
“It is fantastic to see a range of funded posts coming as part of this scheme to assist in the delivery of this significantly important scheme for the region. In addition to programme management staff, we have appointed engineers, a communications officer and administrative post and plans are afoot to appoint an Active Travel Officer early next year that will work as part of a team in close collaboration with all partners to deliver on the project.”
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Maolíosa McHugh said: “This project is significantly important in enhancing existing outdoor recreational opportunities and enhancing cross-border connectivity across three distinct routes at Derry via Pennyburn to Buncrana, Muff Village in Donegal to Derry via Culmore, and Strabane to Lifford via Lifford Bridge.”
Underlining the importance of the project Gina McIntyre Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: “The INTERREG VA Programme has awarded funding to this greenway project to help lower greenhouse gas emissions in this region, in line with the European-wide framework known as the Europe 2020 Strategy. By encouraging people to get out of their cars and walk it will reduce our collective carbon footprint. The greenway will also help to deliver upon one of the key objectives of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme which aims to increase the number of cross-border journeys made by walking and cycling by up to 10%. I look forward to hearing more about the project as work begins in earnest.”
Seamus Neely, Chief Executive with Donegal County Council acknowledged the role of all the partners in the project and said health, social, economic and environmental benefits will be significant for both regions.
“This project has the potential to further develop and enhance sustainable transport options for the region with an excellent potential to attract visitors to the region and that will in turn have a positive impact on the local economies.”
John Kelpie, Chief Executive with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the project was another example of successful partnership collaborative working between the two Councils and partner agencies on a project that has positive impacts for the entire region.
“These projects will provide valuable cross border routes for commuters to use for work and leisure and will further enhance cross border co-operation between the two jurisdictions with a view to encouraging people to reduce their dependence on the car in favour of more sustainable travel methods to contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. This project also fits in with the objectives set out in our Strategic Investment Growth Plan.”