Republic of Ireland news

Funding package for Inishowen flood-damage attraction

Large parts of Swan Park were swept away in last year's floods. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

A key Inishowen tourist attraction devastated in the August 2017 floods is to be re-opened following the announcement of a major Irish government funding package.

Large parts of Swan Park around the Crana River were swept away when unprecedented torrential rain swept through Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone in August last year. Huge numbers of people were left homeless through the floods caused by the storm which also swept away bridges and roads.

Thousands of tourists visit Swan Park in Buncrana every year to see the O'Doherty Keep castle and to view the picturesque waterfalls on the Crana River. Business and tourism leaders in Inishowen had expressed concern that the park was forced to remain closed for health and safety reasons since the floods.

However, Education Minister and Donegal TD, Joe McHugh confirmed yesterday that E1.7m has been allocated by the Dublin government to facilitate the re-opening of the park. The funding will be matched with a further E600,000 from Donegal county council. Mr McHugh said a further E1.5 million would also be spent on Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair, an enterprise, innovation and cultural base in the west of the county.

Mr McHugh said: “This is a phenomenal pay day for the county. Take Swan Park first. In total E2.3 million will be spent to bring that park back to life, for tourists, families, dog walkers, nature lovers and people who keep fit.

“It was a prized asset in the town and it bore the full brunt of the Inishowen floods. It is only because of the direct action that I took across government and funding has been secured to not only restore it but to take to another level.”

The Donegal politician said that since the devastating floods, 300 stretches of road in the county have been re-opened while millions of pounds have bee spent on flood relief for farms and others.

The news has been welcomed by Donegal Fine Gael councillor, Mickey Doherty who said a serious effort has been put into the response to last year's floods.

A number of people forced to leave because of the floods are still unable to return to their homes.

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