West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

DCAL Minister kick strarts Moorlough redevelopment

Published: 14 February, 2013

The Vice Chairman of Strabane District Council, Sinn Féin Cllr Dan Kelly, has spoken of his delight at the news that the DCAL Minister, Carál Ni Chuilín, has approved funding for Phase I of the redevelopment of the facilities at Moorlough. Having lobbied hard for investment at Recreation and Tourism sites across Glenelly, Cllr Kelly said "This is a vindication of our efforts as the minister, having visited a number of sites in the District last August,has managed to find the money in the current financial year to kick start the redevelopment plans for Moorlough." Head of Policy at the Inland Fisheries, Aidan Cassidy, this week briefed Councillors and Council Officials on the Departments plans for Phase I of the overall £210k project last week - with work to upgrade the shore road, parking facilities, angling and boating access and improvements to signage set to start with immediate effect. The Glenelly Sinn Féin Councillor said it has been an uphill battle with the authorities to recognise the tourism and recreational potential that exists at any number of locations right across the District. "The ministers foresight in coming out on the ground and seeing for herself the potential that Moorlough has for angling, watersports and shoreline recreation has set a precedent for other departments and agencies to follow. It is no coincidence that in the week that the DCAL minister approved this funding, we get confirmation from Outdoor Recreation NI and the Touist Board that Moorlough, Lough Ash and the Canal Towpath are now 'approved' outdoor recreation sites along the Central Sperrins Scenic Drive. Just last year the Sperrins Drive itself made news when it entered the National Geographic's 'Top 101 World's Most Scenic Drives' list, one of just two scenic drives in Ireland to receive this accolade!" Speaking as the new Outdoor Recreation NI 'Quality Stamp' of approval signage was unveiled at Moorlough, Councillor Kelly said "Too many state agencies, such as the Tourist Board and Roads Service have for too long been dragging their heels when it comes to investing in this type of infrastructure across the dictrict which has had the effect of actively impeding the growth of the local tourism industry, which was worth £500million to the north's economy last year. We are making inroads, but a huge amount remains to be done and I will continue to lobby that Government bodies are not let off the hook by letting themselves be blinkered by the blight that the legacy of underinvestment has left in the District. Instead, they need to take the lead of Minister Carál Ni Chuilín who came up to Tyrone, saw the potential that existed and went back to Belfast taking the necessary steps to ensure the potential becomes a reality for the people of Strabane and beyond."