I am delighted to have been informed that the restoration project for Meelick Weir and Walkway is to be given the go-ahead after a ten-year battle.
The weir on the Shannon was damaged in flooding in 2009 and a joint committee set up by the communities of Meelick in Co Galway and Lusmagh in Co Offaly has been consistently campaigning for its restoration ever since.
The project restoration will cost approximately €3 million and this is great news. I became involved in this campaign when I was first elected as a TD for Galway East and became Minister for the Office of Public Works..
A contractor will be shortly be appointed and the project will be completed within 12 months.
I want to thank Waterways Ireland and its Western Region Manager Eanna Rowe for their efforts in bringing this project to fruition and the Minister for Heritage, Culture and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan and her department officials for their support.
I also want to acknowledge the support of the National Parks and Wildlife Service for their continued support and encouragement.
The walkway offers a unique growth opportunity for tourism in the Meelick and Eyrecourt area.
The walkway will link two counties together across the Shannon and the weir will help regulate water flow and mitigate against flooding.
The walkway will also provide access to the unique heritage which is to be found at Victoria Lock, the Martello Tower, the Red Bridge and Meelick Church.
I want to acknowledge the enthusiasm and vision of the Meelick and Lusmagh Restoration Committee for their belief in this project. It is marvellous that after many false dawns, they are now going to realise their dream of restoring this unique amenity.