Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill this week visited the newly constructed 140 metre floating pontoon and cruise ship quay on the River Foyle.
The facility, which is currently berthing 10 boats taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race, was funded by the Loughs Agency’s Marine Tourism and Angling Development programme.
The initiative is part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) through the Interreg IVA Cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
Speaking after meeting some of the crew involved in the race, the Minister said: “This new pontoon facility has dramatically improved Derry’s ability to host major events, such as the Clipper Round the World Yacht race, and, as a result, will have long term benefits to the local economy.
“In addition to these signature events of international significance, the facility will be used as a platform for other water-based leisure and tourism activity.
“The new pontoon and cruise ship quay will add to a necklace of infrastructure along the River Foyle - in turn helping the city to realise its potential for marine tourism.”
Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell added: “There has been significant investment in marine infrastructure in the city over the past number of years and the new floating pontoon and cruise ship quay facilities are a welcome addition to our quayside services enabling us to host world-class maritime events such as the Clipper Race.
“The facilities will also enable us to market the city as a key maritime destination as we prepare for 2013 and our year as the City of Culture and encourage increased water based activity on the River Foyle.”
The Minister visited the pontoon after the most recent North South Ministerial Council meeting which took place at Derry City Council’s civic offices.