West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Disappointment as Atwood by-passes Strabane for Derelict Buildings Funding

Published: 5 February, 2013

Strabane Sinn Féin Cllr Brian Mc Mahon has expressed severe disappointment that DoE Minister Alex Atwood has by-passed Strabane District in his £1million announcement of funding to revamp derelict buildings in urban centres across the north despite the local Council having submitted a number of applications to the fund for local initiatives.

Describing the news as a setback in efforts to revamp the town centre Councillor Mc Mahon, who chairs the Economic Development Committee on Council and as well as Strabane Town Centre Forum said,

"The Minister has announced a package of funding totalling £1million for environmental improvements to tackle dereliction in Fermanagh, Belfast, Lisburn, Moyle and Down Districts. While no would begrudge this funding to these areas I am severely disappointment that Strabane has been totally by-passed in the Minister's funding announcement particularly given the fact that Strabane District Council submitted a large number of applications to this fund including for work on prioritised buildings and sites in Strabane Town, Castlederg, Newtownstewart, Plumbridge, Sion Mills and Donemana. The Minister has now deemed all these applications as being unsuccessful!

"It is particularly disappointing that the SDLP Minister has totally by-passed Strabane given that all the local applications fitted perfectly with the criteria laid down for eligibility for the DoE Dereliction Fund.

"It has been members of the Minister's own party locally who have been fond of getting themselves pictured beside derelict sites in the town centre and demanding that Council takes action to revamp these sites. It is therefore somewhat ironic that it is their own Minister who is now setting back Council's efforts in this regard.

"However, in Strabane Council we have been, and will continue to be, pro-active in endeavouring to secure a variety of funding streams to address the issue of derelict buildings and to secure environmental enhancement schemes for our towns and villages in the District."