Forest potential is ‘colossal’ says Thompson

MOYLE District Council has agreed to prioritise and fast track a tourism plan for both Glenariff and Ballypatrick Forests after a proposal from Sinn Fein councillor Colum Thompson.

The move was agreed at a council meeting earlier in January after it was revealed that the Minister For Agriculture Michelle O’Neill is to make £4,000,000 available for forestry tourism projects over the next two business years.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Thompson said: “Firstly I would welcome the news that the minister is making funding available for forestry-based tourism projects, this news has come about thanks to a great deal of work from our local Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan who is the party spokesperson on agriculture and a member of the agriculture committee.

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“What we now have is an excellent opportunity to develop and bring forward tourism projects in our forests. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Glenariff Forest Park is one of the premier forest parks and it is one of the jewels in the crown of Moyle as regards tourism. The potential of Glenariff Forest Park is colossal and I am delighted that Moyle District Council are going to bring forward a plan for both Glenariff and Ballypatrick as a matter of priority.”

Moyle Sinn Fein councillor Noreen McAllister added: “This is fantastic news for Glenariff and the entire Glens area. Tourism is key to kick starting the local economy and a signature tourism project within Glenariff Forest Park would be a huge boost to local business and hopefully help to create much needed employment in the area.”