#UlsterCanal - Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys joined Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard yesterday (Monday 15 August) to announce the establishment of a new Ulster Canal Advisory Forum.
The purpose of the forum is to consider options for advancing the long-delayed inland waterways project, which finally saw works begin last year, and to examine possible funding mechanisms both already existing and from other sources.
The forum will also have regard to the review of the Ulster Canal being taken forward by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government as set out in A Fresh Start – The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan.
Membership of the forum will consist of two elected members and one official respectively from Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council as well as senior officials from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the NI Department for Infrastructure, and Waterways Ireland.
Interested stakeholders from other organisations will be invited to attend meetings of the forum as appropriate.
Announcing the forum, Minister Humphreys said: “Having obtained Government approval for the commencement of Phase 1 of the Ulster Canal restoration project from Upper Lough Erne to Castle Saunderson, I am anxious to build on this momentum and to plan for the further development of this important resource which is so critical for the border region.
"This forum, which will include key stakeholders along the Ulster Canal route, will be a positive dynamic in advancing the project.”
Minister Hazzard added: “I am keen that development of the Ulster Canal is undertaken in partnership with local councils and communities. By working together we can help unlock the tourism potential of the entire region and maximise all available funding opportunities.
"The commitment made in the Fresh Start agreement clearly signals our shared interest in moving this project forward.”