O'Neill opens new Loughmacrory leisure facilities
Sinn Féín Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has said more than £800,000 from the Rural Development Fund is strengthening the community in Loughmacrory.
The Rural Development Fund provided £824,491 for new leisure facilities, developed in partnership with Loughmacrory GAA and handball clubs.
Speaking after officially opening new sport and recreation facilities at the Loughview Centre alongside Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, the West Tyrone MLA said;
“The Partnership approach, with so many interested local organisations and users involved in the process, has led to the development of top class facilities which I have no doubt will lead to events of local and national significance being held at Loughmacrory in the years to come.
"This in turn will provide increased tourism potential, thus maximising the benefits to this rural community and boosting the local economy.
“One of the key aims of the Rural Development Programme is to improve the quality of life of those living in rural areas through the provision of more improved services.
"I have no doubt the new facilities will be used to their maximum by the whole community and increase the sense of community spirit that already exists in Loughmacrory.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “I am pleased to be able to visit this fantastic facility which will serve all the people of Loughmacrory and the wider area.
“I pay tribute to Loughmacrory Community Development Association, Loughmacrory GFC and Loughmacrory GAA Handball Club, who along with their voluntary and statutory partners have made this possible.
"While the GAA is commonly known for its sporting and cultural activities, it also has a proven track record in community development initiatives. Developing facilities like this been made possible through the Rural Development Programme and will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for all rural dwellers and increase the vibrancy of the community.
"I thank and congratulate the Assisting Rural Communities North-West Committee and its chair, Allan Rainey, and everyone involved for their efforts in making this idea a reality."
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:
“I am delighted to visit the centre today to see first hand, how the centre is benefitting those in rural areas. One of my key priorities is promoting equality and tackling poverty and social exclusion and this is centre is an excellent example of this priority working on the ground.
“This centre provides major health and social benefits to the local community. An electronic counter on the Lough Walk regularly clocks up 2000 miles per week and it also provides the opportunity for local people to participate in new water sports and handball.
"This is clear evidence that when a community is united with groups from all disciplines and backgrounds working together, that great results can be achieved. I would like to congratulate everyone involved with the centre and wish it every success for the future.”