Fermanagh facelift ahead of G8 summit

editorial image

Parts of Co Fermanagh are set for a facelift ahead of this summer’s G8 summit, it was revealed on Monday.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has released £380,000 to tackle dereliction in and around Enniskillen before the arrival of the world’s most powerful leaders in June.

The funding boost is part of a £1 million package of projects around Northern Ireland announced today.

Derelict buildings and sites in Belfast will be targeted with £300,000 while Lisburn is receiving £160,000.

Bushmills and Ballycastle are among areas earmarked for a revamp with £100,000 diverted to Moyle Council while Down District Council is in line for £60,000 to brighten up eyesores in Ballynahinch, Newcastle and Downpatrick.

Mr Attwood said hundreds of properties would benefit.

The funding commitment follows similar injections into Portrush and Portstewart before last year’s Irish Open golf tournament and in Londonderry as it prepared for its City of Culture year.

“This is good news for many areas and a further step on my programme to attack dereliction across Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Fermanagh will be very much in the international spotlight this year as hosts for the G8 summit. This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase its charms to the world. I want my department to contribute to that and almost £380,000 will be a good start towards addressing dereliction and decay in the area.”

The minister said the funding for Belfast was timely given the recent controversy over the Union flag.

“Belfast has been in the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons,” he said.

“It is fitting that we do everything in our power to make the city attractive for tourists and consumers. This funding package will be a significant boost towards that.”

Mr Attwood added: “I was also keen to build on the very successful work done in Portrush and Portstewart last year.

“This funding means we will be able to extend the good work down the coast, removing eyesores in scenic coastal areas including Bushmills, Ballycastle, Waterfoot and Ballintoy.

“Lisburn is this year’s European City of Sport, and our investment will see many areas in the city centre being given a real spruce-up.

“Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Newcastle will benefit from the funding boosting in these historic and seaside areas.

“If we want tourists to stay longer, if we want more tourists to come, then tackling major eyesores and dereliction will certainly help.

“While this is timely in relation to G8, Lisburn as City of Sport and helping to tackle problems immediately facing Belfast, I am doing this to benefit tourism in the long term which in turn will create the opportunity to attract inward investment.”