European Parliament Regional Development Committee Chair visits Donegal County Council to discuss Riverine Project delays
Chair of the European Parliament Regional Development Committee, Younous Omarjee MEP, recently visited Donegal at the invitation of Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest. Omarjee was visiting on a fact-finding mission to examine how the EU can play a positive role in addressing regional imbalance in Ireland.
MacManus and Omarjee met with officials from Donegal County Council and Derry and Strabane District Council at the Donegal County Council offices in Lifford, to discuss the Riverine project, which has been delayed due to issues such as planning, in turn putting PEACE funding which has been secured for the project at risk.
Cllr Gary Doherty, who had raised these issues with MacManus, also attended the meeting.
Speaking afterwards, MEP Omarjee said:
“I am pleased to be in Ireland this week at the invitation of my colleague, Chris MacManus, in my capacity as Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee. I am here to meet with regional stakeholders such as Donegal County Council, examine the positive role EU funding has played in the Northern and Western region, and to discuss how the EU can contribute towards addressing the decline of the west and northwest of Ireland.”
“The Riverine Project will involve the development of a footbridge between the towns of Lifford and Strabane, linking recreation and open space on both sides of the Foyle for all communities here to enjoy. When developed, it will be a very positive example of the role EU funding can play in benefitting local communities and improving peoples’ lives.”
MEP MacManus said:
“I am pleased to welcome Younous to Ireland this week. He chairs a very powerful Committee in the European Parliament, which is especially important for us here in the west and northwest of Ireland given the need for European funding to address infrastructural deficits in our region.”
“The Riverine project was initially awarded almost €9 million in funding under Peace IV, and will be an incredible amenity for the local area and in developing greater links between the communities of Lifford and Strabane.”
“However, there have been delays to the project due to issues such as planning and applications for foreshore and marine licences. As a result the project would not meet the current deadline for completion of works, which is 31 December 2023.”
“This means that the Councils would again have to apply for funding through PEACE PLUS, but there is no guarantee that they will again be successful in this application. This would be a huge blow to the local area and must be avoided at all costs.”
“Following this meeting, Younous and I have made it our priority to engage with the European Commission to seek flexibility on the deadline to allow this project to go ahead with the funding it has secured. We will be impressing upon them the benefits that this project will bring to the local area and are hopeful that the Commission will consider an extension.” ENDS
See attached photograph of Seated (L-R): John McLaughlin (Chief Executive, Donegal County Council), Karen Phillips (Director of Services, Derry City and Strabane District Council), Younous Omarjee MEP, Chris MacManus MEP. Standing (L-R): Brendan O’Donnell (Senior Engineer, Donegal County Council), Liam Ward (Director of Services, Donegal County Council), Cllr Gary Doherty, Shane Sweeney, (A/Senior Engineer Donegal County Council)