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26/06/2015 - New Pontoon opened at Greencastle

 

Greencastle Pontoon Opening

 

The Greencastle pontoon tourism project was formally opened by the Cathaoirleach of the Inishowen Municipal District, Rena Donaghey, on Friday 26th June.

 

This project is one of several Loughs Agency marine tourism and angling development projects funded through a €4 million programme of investment derived from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

 

Welcoming the launch of the pontoon, Lorraine McCourt, Director with the SEUPB, said: “We are delighted to see yet another element of this EU funded project open to the public. This type of infrastructure plays an important part in enhancing the marine tourism offering of the region, on a cross-border basis. I look forward to hearing more about its usage and the impact that it will have within the local tourist industry.”

 

The project works include a 20 metres by 4 metres floating concrete pontoon with a connecting gangway, secure access gate and a hoist for the assistance of disabled sailors. This offers marine tourism facilities that will prompt passing boats to stop over in Greencastle. The pontoon will entice sailors into the Foyle and offer a stopover for vessels bound for Derry.

 

Speaking at the event, Michael O’ hÉanaigh, Donegal County Council said “The Council was delighted to work in partnership with the Loughs Agency to construct this marine pontoon. These facilities create a platform for hosting maritime events and allow visiting vessels to readily discover the beauty of Inishowen and the Foyle.  Developing the potential of Marine Tourism is an important priority for Donegal County Council."

 

These projects will provide the critical infrastructure needed to stimulate water based tourism and, in turn, drive economic development. The benefits of the infrastructure created as a result of this investment are immediately clear.

 

Minister McHugh said, “as a sponsoring Minister within the North South Ministerial Council, I am happy to see another example of the outstanding work of the Loughs Agency in developing the marine tourism resources of the Foyle, in conjunction with Donegal County Council and other partners.  The Agency has an unrivalled record in successfully garnering EU funding support and I want to acknowledge the support of the EU Special Programmes body”.

 

“The pontoon project further opens up Greencastle and the surrounding Inishowen area to cruise ship visits and a variety of leisure craft. I am particularly pleased that it will facilitate access for visitors with a disability.  This type of infrastructure is important for local businesses in a community where tourism is a major economic driver and I also want to acknowledge the complementary pontoon project funded by Minister Coveney’s Department” he added.

 

Inishowen Mayor, Rena Donaghey, speaking at the official opening said:  “By working together to create the pontoon, the Loughs Agency, alongside Donegal County Council, have been able to develop a highly successful tourism product, which will create many long-term benefits for the local area”. 

 

She continued, “Enhancing the tourism potential of the region, in order to attract an increased number of domestic and overseas visitors, is one of the key objectives of the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme. I have no doubt that this project will see an increase in tourism within the Greencastle area and along the Foyle, creating long-term benefits for the local community that it deserves”. 

 

In welcoming guests to the official opening of the EU funded marine event at Greencastle, Loughs Agency board member, Phil Mahon, said “This is another excellent example of EU funding being invested in infrastructure that will grow local and regional tourism. This berth at the mouth of the lough complements another Interreg funded project upriver in the city of Derry, a further link in a necklace of marine infrastructure along this coastline”. 

 

She continued to wish good luck to Sailability Ireland in “their praiseworthy venture, setting out this afternoon from Greencastle to circumnavigate Ireland, raising awareness of sailing for persons with disabilities”.

 

Cathal Ó hOisín MLA told the audience he was “Delighted to be here today to represent Michelle O’Neill, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. I have no doubt that this project will see an increase in tourism within the Greencastle area and create long-term benefits for the local community that it deserves”. 

 

Ahead of the opening, Foyle Sailability welcomed the project, saying “as a cross border voluntary group it is fitting that we host events on both sides of the border. We are thrilled with the addition of such a fantastic facility at Greencastle, not only from the point of view of our own efforts in promoting sailing and water based sports for people with disabilities, but also in terms of attracting visiting sailors with disabilities. We are sure it will be put to good use”.

 

The Greencastle pontoon represents an example of excellent partnership working between Loughs Agency (as lead partner), Donegal County Council (as project partner), Dorans Consulting (as the council’s agents) and Inland and Coastal Marina Systems as the main contractor.

 

 

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