New funding a ‘game changer’ for Buncrana

Funding of €1.17million has been announced in a first step for the regeneration of Buncrana, in what has been described as a ‘game changer’ for the town.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, today welcomed rural regeneration funding for Buncrana and for the North West Bioeconomy Hub.

The Buncrana project will strengthen the shore front, enhance walking and cycling in the town, provide quality shore front amenities and overall plan to transform the Buncrana town centre. The total project cost is €1.46m with €1.16m Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) funding.

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The funding, under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), is being invested in projects that will rejuvenate town centres, drive economic growth and footfall, combat dereliction, develop pedestrian zones and outdoor spaces and boost tourism in rural Ireland.

Lady’s Bay at Buncrana’s Shore Front. (Photo: George Sweeney / Derry Journal)

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Councillor Jack Murray said: “We’ve always believed that Buncrana can rival Westport or Killarney in terms of our tourism offering and this concept has the potential to do just that. I look forward to a completely reimagined Shore Front area with confidence and I am hopeful that a newly built leisure centre will sit beside it.

“Over 100 jobs can be created in the old garda barracks while a greatly enhanced playpark, toilet facilities and a new pedestrian footbridge will create a much better visitor experience in the town.”

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Colr. Murray concluded by saying that he wanted everyone to have their say as to how the town will develop.

The funding will ensure the project is ‘shovel ready’ and includes plans for an outdoor swimming pool, an extension of the play park, a promenade across the shore front, the relocation of the RNLI station from Ned’s Point, an ornate bridge from Amazing Grace Park to the pier, a new toilet block and an avenue from the playpark to the Shore Front to ‘link’ both areas, as well as the purchase of the Old Garda Barracks.

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Councillor Rena Donaghey, who first raised the proposal last year, said she was ‘delighted’ with the announcement and added how the plans would also ensure the Shore Front would be ‘suitable for any event that may be proposed in the future.’

“For years now, I have been campaigning to have an inclusive master plan for Buncrana, from the pier, across the Shore Front and to include Swan Park and Ned’s Point.

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“I was delighted last March when my proposal was taken on board by the RRDF team on Donegal County Council, headed by Paul Kelly, Sinead and team and with the full support of councillors Jack Murray and Nicholas Crossan.

“The team saw it as a project worthy of being put forward for funding for Category 2, to become shovel ready.”

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Colr Donaghey said the plan, when fully developed, would also create ‘much needed employment’ and pointed out how, in the last year there has been a strong funding commitment to rural Donegal, which included €12m to Fort Dunree, €12m to Greencastle and now ‘Buncrana is rightly gettIng its fair share of the national cake.’

She paid tribute to Ministers Heather Humphreys and Charlie McConalogue for ensuring the funding.