Taoiseach urged to visit flood damaged Swan Park

Swan Park was badly damaged by floods in August 2017.
Swan Park was badly damaged by floods in August 2017.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been urged to visit Buncrana’s flood damaged Swan Park when he is in the peninsula next week.

Buncrana Tidy Towns Garden Chairperson Paddy McLaughlin has written to the Taoiseach and Donegal TD and government Chief Whip Joe McHugh TD to invite both to visit Swan Park during the Taoiseach’s visit to the town on Tuesday, September 11, to formally open the new Cockhill Bridge.

Donegal Senator Padraig MacLochlainn has also written to An Taoiseach, inviting him to visit Swan Park, to see for himself the devastation last year’s floods caused. He has not yet received confirmation of a visit.

In his letter, Mr Paddy McLaughlin said the town feels “let down” by the government, as funding has yet to be provided for the restoration.

He said: “Buncrana Tidy Towns acknowledge the fantastic work of Donegal County Council in maintaining and developing Swan Park. Prior to the floods we had expected development work to begin late last year that would have greatly enhanced what is already a historic and much-loved local heritage location. Buncrana Tidy Towns and other local organisations had worked closely with the Council to develop the planned works, and collectively we were really proud of what we had as a community achieved.

“As a town we feel really let down by the Government as no Minister has engaged with us to provide a funding solution for the estimated €2.3m needed to restore and reopen the park. Swan Park is to Inishowen what the Phoenix Park is to Dublin. It would be unimaginable after enduring significant damage from flooding that the Phoenix Park or indeed Stephens Green or Herbert Park would be left impassable for over a year due to a refusal by Government to provide the necessary public funding.

“Thousands of locals have already signed and presented a signed a petition to Government calling for funding needed to reopen the park. Donegal County Council has the necessary plans and permissions to commence the work. Buncrana Tidy Towns for our part made a joint application with Donegal County Council to secure funding from the Community Involvement Scheme to at least get the paths reopened but the funding was not granted. I cannot overstate how let down the people of Buncrana and indeed wider Inishowen feel on this issue. It would be unforgiveable of the Taoiseach to visit Buncrana and not see for himself how badly damaged Swan Park remains.”