Cross-border park project given £7.9m EU funding

A new cross-border park project has secured European Union funding of almost £8 million.

The proposed shared space project Riverine will stretch from Strabane, Co Tyrone, to neighbouring Lifford in Co Donegal.

It will create a 30-acre community park space and infrastructure designed to bring people together.

Some 8.96 million euro (£7.9 million) of EU PEACE IV funding has been offered for the project.

It will include a pavilion building, outdoor wetland and park space, cross-border pathways and greenways and a newly-constructed pedestrian footbridge that will symbolically connect the space across the River Foyle.

Match funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in the Republic of Ireland.

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the PEACE IV Programme, welcomed the funding decision.

“By creating a shared space which citizens can enjoy together, irrespective of their background, the project will help them to gain a better understanding of what life is like for someone of a different religion or culture, and in so doing will help to create a more cohesive society,” she said.

Nicholas Crossan, leader of Donegal County Council, said the project has the potential to create a “unique and transformational cross-border shared space”.

Mr Crossan added it will “act as a symbol of peace and reconciliation for generations to come”.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Mayor Michaela Boyle said Riverine is a “real catalyst for transformation”.

“This multi-million pound, cross-border project will see the development of an iconic and regionally significant, shared space parkland facility that will bridge the east and west banks of the River Foyle between the towns of Strabane and Lifford,” she said.

“Not only will it provide us much-needed community facilities and shared green space, but it will further strengthen our existing close cross-border links and enhance the relationship between the two towns and their hinterlands.”