Belfast Telegraph

Rural Development Programme delivering for rural tourism – O’Neill

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Providing world-class rural tourist facilities in the north is an essential component of the Rural Development Programme.

That was the message from Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill as she visited camping pods in Cushendall funded in partnership between Moyle Council and Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme.

Moyle Council was successful in being awarded £352,886 for the project which was to create additional pontoons at Rathlin Harbour, creation of a watersports stop-off point at Dunsevrick and provision of camping pods at Cushendall.

The Minister said: “A key aim of the Rural Development Programme is to create high quality tourist accommodation in rural areas and this is an excellent example of an innovative alternative to the camping product on the North Coast. The project will also provide appropriate modern facilities for those engaged in water-based tourism such as sailing, kayaking etc, and will increase visitor numbers to these areas and provide a much needed economic spin-off for local businesses along the North Antrim coastline and on Rathlin Island itself.”

Minister O’Neill continued: “This is one of 32 strategic projects, totalling over £17million, that my Department is supporting across the north. They are helping to boost investment in rural areas and maximise the drawdown of the EU funding available. In addition to stimulating the economy in rural areas, they are also proving much needed support to our local construction sector which has suffered greatly during the economic downturn.”

Chair of North East Region (NER) Joint Council Committee, James Currie said: “NER are delighted to work alongside the DARD and Moyle council in providing this tourist facility in Cushendall. It will provide tourists with affordable stop-over facilities as they journey by sea along the North Coast.’’

Public consultation on the draft NI Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 was launched on 1 July 2013 and will remain open for 16 weeks, closing at 5pm on 21 October 2013. Details of the consultation can be found on the DARD website http://www.dardni.gov.uk/rural-development-programme-2014-2020-public-consultation.htm and the NI Direct website (http://www.nidirect.gov.uk).

Notes to editors:

1. Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme is worth £100million and is delivered on DARD’s behalf by seven council clusters.

2. The Axis 3 Rural Development Programme, Measure 3.3, funding for the Loughgiel Childcare Facility renovation is administered by North East Region (NER).

3. NER covers the rural areas of Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Moyle and Larne and delivers funding under the following measures:

(i) 3.1 – Farm Diversification
(ii) 3.2 – Micro- Business
(iii) 3.3 – Tourism
(iv) 3.4 – Basic Services
(v) 3.5 – Village Renewal
(vi) 3.6 – Rural Heritage

4. NER has been allocated £13,181,300 under Axis 3 of the Rural Development Programme.

5. This is one of 32 strategic projects worth £17million.

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