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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots visits Lough Neagh Rescue Service

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots pictured with Philip Smyth – Director, Lough Neagh Rescue and Alderman Glenn Barr, Lord Mayor, ABC Borough Council.

Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, recently visited the Lough Neagh Rescue (LNR) Centre at lands adjacent to Kinnego Marina.

The facility, when complete, will allow Lough Neagh Rescue to provide a more enhanced service to the community and will allow for training to take place in a modern training environment.

The works cost £640,000 and a grant of £480,000 was secured under the NI Rural Development Programme’s Co-Operation Scheme. The project is delivered in co-operation with three Local Action Groups, namely SOAR (ABC) in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area, MURDP (Mid Ulster Rural Development Programme) and GROW (South Antrim).

DAERA minister Edwin Poots pictured with Manus Lappin - Lough Neagh Rescue.

Minister Poots said:

“It has been really interesting hearing all the good work LNR do saving lives all year round on the Lough and I was very impressed by the team’s life-saving stories.

“I am delighted that my department in partnership with SOAR have been able to help fund the new works at Kinnego Lough Neagh rescue centre and I was able to see the work taking place at the Marina under the Co-Operation Scheme.

“This is a state of the art rescue facility and will make the Lough a much safer place in which to enjoy the activities on the open water and the wildlife around it once the building works are complete.”

The Chairperson of SOAR, Roisin McAliskey commented:

“This co-operation project will enable Lough Neagh Rescue to have a building that is fit for purpose to allow them to carry out their search and rescue operations that are an integral part of our community and indeed the entire community around the Lough Neagh area. The Kinnego Marina element is also very welcome in that high spec glamping pods and an upgrade of the road and utility block will increase visitor numbers to Lough Neagh.”

The project also incorporates four new high spec glamping pods at the marina, along with new fencing, road resurfacing and a utility block refit inside and out. It will also include work to the “Gary Breen” boat as a rescue command vessel to bring it up to “boat code” standards.

The Co-Operation Scheme is a part of the NI Rural Development Programme (2014-2020). The Co-Operation Scheme encourages and supports LAGs to undertake joint actions with other LAGs. SOAR (ABC) is the lead on the Lough Neagh Co-Operation project.

Twenty projects across NI have been supported under the Co-Operation Scheme, and a total of £4million has been allocated to the scheme.

In MURDP, the project encompasses the refurbishment of 77 angling stands and installation of 1km of access trail on the River Bann at Portglenone. It will also involve a “grasscrete” area to facilitate vehicle access for canoe launching, new wildlife viewing platform, canoe and bike stands/storage, tenting/camping area, linear walkways at Washing Bay. That project is a £205,000 project and it received a grant of £122,207 from the Co-Operation Scheme.

In GROW (South Antrim); the co-operation project entails physical improvements at Lough Shore Park, Antrim to improve access to and the attractiveness of Lough Neagh at the Antrim side. This will include landscaping works, refurbishment of hard landscape elements in other areas and adding barriers, picnic tables and other features where appropriate. It will also include works to improve the jetties and slipways. That project costs £332,634 and it received a grant of £209,896


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