Minister of State Joe McHugh T.D. has paid tribute to the grassroots campaign for a new bridge at Cockhill which has led to a successful outcome after 65 years.
Minister McHugh was speaking as he turned the sod with Inishowen Mayor Rena Donaghey on the bank of the Crana River on Wednesday to mark the start of the three million euro project.
Mr McHugh acknowledged the contribution of all local politicians in making sure the bridge project remained on the table, and praised Minister Paschal Donohoe for listening to the concerns of local people.
He said the issue was raised by people “from Ballyliffin to Glengad to Rashenny and right up to the Isle of Doagh”.
“This has been an issue this last 65 years. You don’t need me to tell you- the people of Inishowen- that. The Cockhill Bridge was never about Buncrana alone; it was always about the importance of Cockhill Bridge as an infrastructural project for Inishowen and for the wider county.”
He added: “I would like to acknowledge all the safety campaigns that went on before the money was allocated because every bit helped and it was all so important. It’s a big day for Inishowen, a big day for the area. It’s an important project; important for the Wild Atlantic Way and the projections for tourism in Inishowen are going to get bigger.
Mr McHugh also said it was important to keep all parties ‘in the conversation’ going forward.