THE restoration of 9 miles of the Ulster Canal, announced last week, was brought up at a meeting between Michelle Gildernew, MP and Collette FitzGerald, the new Head of the European Commission Regional Office in Belfast.
Ms Gildernew, who hosted the meeting, explained she had invited Ms FitzGerald to highlight local opportunities that required EU support.
“I felt it was important to illustrate the benefits of EU funding in the past, and the potential for the future. Among the beneficiaries is the Ulster Canal.
“When restored, it will have huge potential for both jobs and tourism in the south Ulster area. It will have a huge impact on the towns and villages in the canal corridor, leading to significant regeneration and benefits due to increased tourism, business development and prosperity in general.
“Then, of course, there are the many construction and ancillary jobs that would be created.”
Ms Gildernew said similar projects had shown a significant return, not only for the economy, but for people in the entire catchment area, with increased numbers of visitors, including recreational visitors, walkers, cyclists and canoeists.
As for the DoE approval, and Fermanagh council consent, she commented: “This is a major milestone for the Ulster Canal project, and all of our energies now need to go into securing the required funding to ensure that this project can progress without delay.”
Ms FitzGerald described the project as, ‘an excellent project which could have a positive economic and environmental impact on the region and create badly-needed new jobs’.
She wished it every success.