Representatives from Lagan Canal
Trust; Lisburn City Council; Inland Waterways
Association of Ireland; Ballyshannon Town Council and
Donegal County Council along with Junior Minister
Jeffrey Donaldson MP MLA and An Tanaiste Mary Coughlan
TD, launched the East West Waterway Project at a
conference in Enniskillen last Friday.
LISBURN City Council is at the forefront of a
new cross border initiative to establish a single inland
waterway between the west coast of Ulster in Co. Donegal and the
province's east coast in Co. Down.
The project was launched at an inaugural
workshop last Friday in Enniskillen. Its aim is to re-open and
link waterways from Belfast Lough to Lough Neagh and then via
the Ulster Canal to the Erne Shannon system and the all Ireland
Those speaking at the workshop included the
Republic's Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary
Coughlan; the Chairman of the Ulster Canal Working Group Brian
Cassells and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson who is a Junior
Minister in the Stormont Executive.
Mr. Donaldson said Lisburn City Council of
which he is also a member had been 'proactive over the years'
focusing on the renewal of the River Lagan and the Lagan Canal.
"The Council along with local authorities in
Belfast, Castlereagh and Craigavon has been instrumental in
establishing a new Lagan Navigation Trust to further this
development," he added.
"The Councils in the Trust have been in
discussion with partners in Donegal for some time to look at the
Lagan Navigation in the context of the creation of an East West
inland waterway with a maritime connection between the east and
west coasts of Ulster. "Such a project is clearly ambitious but
the return on public investment in making it happen will be the
creation of a new water-based tourism product that will bring
visitors, employment and commercial opportunities to our
region." Mr. Donaldson thanked Ms. Coughlan for her commitment
to the project along with other councils, the Inland Waterways
and all government departments involved.
"This project is one with a clear vision. I
hope today is the start, and that it allows the partners to see
a way forward in its plan for a new waterways network for
Northern Ireland, " the MP said. Partners with Lisburn City
Council in the Waterways Project include Donegal County Council,
Ballyshannon Town Council, Fermanagh Council, Belfast Council,
Castlereagh Council, Craigavon Council, Department of Arts and
Leisure, Environment and Heritage Service and the Inland
Waterways Association of Ireland.