Cross-border forum on Ulster Canal restoration announced

The form's aim is to consider how to progress the Ulster Canal project and identify possible funding
Staff Reporter

A CROSS-border forum is being established in a bid to examine ways of restoring the Ulster Canal.

The Ulster Canal Advisory Forum was announced yesterday by Stormont's infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard and the south's rural affairs minister Heather Humphreys.

Its aim is to consider how to progress the Ulster Canal project and identify possible funding streams.

The forum will also have regard to the review of the Ulster Canal put forward in the 'Fresh Start' agreement.

Membership will comprise of two elected members and one official from Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council, and Fermanagh and Omagh council.

It will also include officials from the Republic's rural affairs department, Stormont's Department for Infrastructure and Waterways Ireland.

Stakeholders from other organisations will be invited to attend some meetings.

The Ulster Canal is a disused waterway running through parts of counties Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan and Monaghan.

Completed between 1825 and 1841, it originally linked the Lough Erne river system to Lough Neagh but operated for less than a century before it stopped being used completely in 1929.

Its narrow locks and inadequate water supply made it unfeasible as a means of transporting goods.

Sinn Féin's Mr Hazzard said: "By working together we can help unlock the tourism potential of the entire region and maximise all available funding opportunities."

Fine Gael's Ms Humphreys said: "This forum, which will include key stakeholders along the Ulster Canal route, will be a positive dynamic in advancing the project."

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