DfI will ensure Our Future Foyle learning is not lost as Foyle Bridge improvements move ahead: Mallon

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon says her department will ‘ensure that the important learning from the “Our Future Foyle” work is not lost’ as it moves forward with renovation plans for the Foyle Bridge in Derry.

Ms. Mallon confirmed DfI is developing a new Strategic Outline Case for the bridge.

The department is considering how the iconic span might be modified to encourage active travel and assist with a ‘green recovery’.

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The minister said the department will work with the north’s Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhán O’Neill, and other stakeholders as it progresses the plans.

An image of an installation proposed for the Foyle Bridge under the Our Future Foyle project.

Almost four years ago the £25m Public Health Agency (PHA)-led ‘Our Future Foyle’ riverine project, aimed at improving the public space along the Foyle and moving away from some of the negative connotations associated with the river, was launched in the Guidhall.

Sinn Féin candidate in the forthcoming Assembly elections Pádraig Delargy has now asked Ms. Mallon if ‘she will engage with Our Future Foyle with regard to installing suicide prevention infrastructure on Foyle Bridge’.

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“As part of this, my Department is considering how the bridge could be modified to encourage people to undertake more active travel journeys, increase connectivity and better aid a green recovery, which will have benefits for the mental health and wellbeing of people in the area. It will also investigate how the design of the parapets may be altered.”

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Ms. Mallon said she would ensure that the work already undertaken by Our Future Foyle will inform developments.

“In taking this work forward my Department will ensure that the important learning from the ‘Our Future Foyle’ work is not lost. My Department is working closely with stakeholders, including the Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhán O’Neill to develop proposals which will have the widest benefits for the people of Derry,” she said.

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In light of Ms. Mallon’s statement the ‘Journal’ asked the PHA for an update on the Our Future Foyle project. The paper was informed that the Our Future Foyle project is now being managed within the Department for Infrastructure with some elements also with the Department for Communities.