18 October 2007 Edition

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North-South Ministerial meeting on inland waterways

Conor Murphy

Conor Murphy

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy accompanied DUP Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Edwin Poots at a North-South Ministerial Council meeting with Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Community, Rural Affairs and Gaeltacht Affairs at an Inland Waterways Sectoral meeting at Slieve Russell near Ballyconnell County Cavan on Wednesday. It was the first North-South Inland Waterways sectoral meeting since the restoration of the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.
Murphy accompanied Poots as per the North’s Ministerial code where there must be representation from within both nationalism and unionism when attending North-South meetings.
The meeting was reported to be very productive and involved full engagement on issues of an all-island nature including a report from the Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland on developments since the Council last met in June 2002.
“Major achievements include work on the restoration of the Royal Canal and the decision to proceed with the restoration of a section of the Ulster Canal. These are important issues in developing the tourism infrastructure across the island and as we have seen elsewhere the rejuvenation of inland waterways can play a key role in economic regeneration”, Conor Murphy said.
The Ministers welcomed progress on the new HQ building in Enniskillen, the opening of a Western regional office in Scarrif, County Clare and the sponsorship of major sporting events such as the Classic Fishing Festival on Lough Erne, the World Ski Championship in Enniskillen and the Triathlon in Athlone. They also welcomed the decision of the North South Ministerial Council Plenary meeting in July to proceed with the restoration of the Clones to Upper Lough Erne stretch of the Ulster Canal and agreed on how to proceed with this major infrastructural project. The next meeting of this sector will be March 2008.

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