In July 2007, the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) agreed to proceed with the restoration and reopening of the 13km section of the Ulster Canal between Clones and Upper Lough Erne.
Government approval to restore a 2.5km stretch of the Ulster Canal from the Shannon-Erne waterway to the International Scout Centre at Castlesaunderson, near Belturbet, Co. Cavan was granted on 24th February 2015.
The works to complete the project are in the 3rd and final phase of delivery. This phase involves the creation of a new 250m section of canal and the construction of a new road bridge north of the existing Derrykerrib Bridge. The recent spell of sustained heavy rainfall post Christmas has caused severe flooding on site and works have been temporarily suspended to allow the floods to recede. Work recommenced on 26th February 2018 and completion has been rescheduled for July 2018. In parallel, the next phase of works on the restoration is under active consideration.
The project is progressing incrementally and I am delighted that we have been able to progress the project to this stage.
This project is important for the border region with potential to stimulate economic activity, giving a much needed boost to job creation and with the growth in water based tourism attracting help attract significant numbers of visitors to the area. This is increasingly significant in the context of Brexit.
I remain committed to the project and I am keen to build on current progress and advance further restoration of the Ulster Canal to Clones and to progress the commitments in the Fresh Start Agreement in relation to the further development of the Ulster Canal.