Minister Visits Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group Projects

28th February 2022

Trillick Village Renewal 1

The Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group welcomed Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on Wednesday 16 February 2022 to a celebration of three projects which had been supported by Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (FOLAG) under Priority 6, LEADER, of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

The Minister was welcomed to the district by the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson and members of FOLAG as he undertook a whistle-stop tour of the district.  The first visit of the afternoon was to Alexander Plant Ltd in Omagh where the Minister was greeted by Helena Kelly, Assistant Plant Manager who provided a tour of the facilities and plant machinery and outlined the benefits to the business of the grant support which was utilised to diversify the company’s fleet and hire opportunities.

Praising the approach of LEADER and the demonstratable benefits of a partnership working approach, the Council Chair, Councillor Thompson said, “today provides tangible evidence of how the partnership approach really delivers, with key stakeholders delivering programmes and projects that add value to businesses, communities and the lives of the people of the district.”

In Trillick the Minister was welcomed by Councillor Siobhán Currie, Vice Chair FOLAG and members of the FOLAG Board along with members of the Trillick 2020 Community Group. The Group had worked with the Council on two projects aimed at making improvements across the Trillick village.  The project added features to the village that are unique to Trillick, including a 3 stone sculpture (derived from the Irish Trileac, meaning three flagstones) and installation of a very popular tractor sculpture.

From Trillick the Minister moved to Magheraveely where the local community group had engaged with FODC to work on a project to redevelop an old civic amenity site that had been abandoned for many years.  The project involved the provision of a modular building suitable for community use to accommodate meetings, workshops and other community activity. In addition, a poly-tunnel was erected for gardening activities on site.  Members of the group spoke of their delight to have the facility which had provided a meeting point for the local community.

Councillor Siobhán Currie, Vice-Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group commenting on the afternoons visits said, “On behalf of FOLAG I am delighted to be visiting these projects today and supporting a number of projects under the Village Renewal Scheme right across the district to ensure that local people benefit from improved infrastructure and access to services.”

Speaking about his visit to Alexander Plant Ltd just outside Omagh, Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA said, “The investments to businesses through the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme’s Rural Business Investment Scheme are playing a key role in supporting, sustaining and indeed growing the development of rural businesses across Northern Ireland. My Department is very aware of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore continues to provide support to rural businesses through the Rural Development Programme, the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme and the Covid Recovery Revitalisation Programme which was part funded by DAERA.”

On visiting two further projects in Trillick and Magheraveely, Minister Poots added, ‘I am pleased that the Northern Ireland Rural Development ‘LEADER’ Programme, through the Village Renewal Scheme is making a real change to the fabric of rural villages and is supporting projects that are based on community need.”

Minister Poots continued, “I am delighted that these projects will create a sense of civic pride in the villages, provide tangible benefits for users and will help these rural areas reach their full potential. I want to thank all those involved for all their hard work and dedication in bringing the projects forward.”

The projects were part-funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.