Donegal TD Joe McHugh has urged the local authority and councillors to draw up a priority list of projects that could tap into a new €1billion rural regeneration fund unveiled by the Government.
Mr McHugh, Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, said: “What I’m saying to our council members is that we already have a number of big projects in Donegal where collaboration has been key.
“Our councillors need to use this experience and start drawing up a priority list – whether that’s for community development, marine or town and village schemes – find the projects that fit the bill and work on making them winners.
“One project in Inishowen that springs to mind is the development of Greencastle Harbour – a major fishing port, a potential destination for cruise ships and a key link for Foyle Port.
“In recent years in Donegal we haven’t been shy about tapping into resources for the betterment of our communities, whether that’s European peace dividend funding, new enterprise initiatives and science and tech. And it’s time to put our skills on that front to work again.”
The Fine Gael politician said Donegal needs big ideas and ambitious targets to capitalise on this dedicated fund.
Following Cabinet discussions on the €1billion Rural Regeneration Scheme on Tuesday, Mr McHugh, Government Chief Whip, immediately held a meeting with Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed on how to progress schemes through the Fund, including the Greencastle development.
Donegal County Council have previously committed to covering 25% of the estimated €10million cost of work at the harbour.
Mr McHugh said: “I would say that a project like Greencastle meets a lot of the criteria being set down by the Government.
“There’s a collaborative approach here with the County Council, it has a north-south element, it is sustaining a rural community and the investment would be an economic driver sustaining jobs and opening new avenues for enterprise.
“That for me is ticking a lot of boxes.”