Minister of State for Natural Resources, Joe McHugh TD, today speaking at the launch of an innovative €4m tourism initiative at Malin Head in Co Donegal, welcomed the fact that to date, €220,000 has been spent on the development, which is part of an overall investment on a variety of projects on both sides of the border, including Greencastle and Derry. The initiative will also benefit from the now internationally recognised "Wild Atlantic Way" brand, which has been a resounding success for tourism along the western seaboard.
The project, which was supported by Donegal County Council and led by the Lough Agency, a North South Body comprising of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission, and established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Minister McHugh said, "In my role as a Sponsoring Minister for the Lough Agency on the North South Ministerial Council, I am fully aware of the success the Agency has had in recent years in securing some €15M in EU funding. This funding has been directly invested in local amenities with a real community dividend, benefitting people and businesses in the area, as well as for key research to underpin the Agency's core functions".
This tourism initiative being launched today incorporates a cliff top walking trail, viewing platform, access improvements for vehicles and enhanced bus access, as well as improved access for persons with a disability. In addition, plans are being discussed for the extension of the Foyle Valley Greenway which runs parallel to the River Foyle, potentially linking with the Strabane Canal.
"The Agency and its partners are consistently developing marine related tourism products across Inishowen and the surrounding hinterlands, helping to attract larger numbers of visitors who can now enjoy these facilities and other local attractions. These developments are extremely important in supporting small and medium businesses across all sectors, including accommodation, catering, and other service providers" continued the Minister.
The Minister also encouraged the Agency's plans to continue pursuit of development funding and to collaborate with Local Authorities around the Foyle and Carlingford areas. He particularly welcomed ongoing collaboration between the Agency and Donegal County Council.
Minister McHugh concluded, "I want to thank Donegal County Council for its support and I wish the Lough's Agency continued success in its pursuit of EU funding support. I look forward to reports of further achievements when I meet the Agency officially in the North South Ministerial Council and in the many informal contacts I have with the Agency's team".