‘€488,211 will give Dowra Courthouse a new lease of life,’ so stated West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor John Paul Feeley as he warmly welcomed funding for renovation of this key building under the Harnessing Natural Resources Project from INTEREG 4A. This is the largest single allocation under the Project.
‘Dowra Courthouse is the key building in Dowra; it should be a focal point in the Village and the wider community. This funding will turn a vacant and deteriorating building into that focal point. I have since I became a County Councillor worked to secure funding to renovate this building and I warmly welcome this massive allocation.’
The former Courthouse and Garda Station, the property of Cavan County Council will, under the management of Cavan County Enterprise Fund be transformed into a work space for the arts and a tourist information point.
‘One of my early tasks as a solicitor was to attend the last sitting of Dowra District Court. I am delighted that this building will now be but back into use and given a new lease of life. A key building, such as the Courthouse should not be in a semi-derelict state. This funding will but Dowra Courthouse right and hopefully proves a catalyst to further investment in Dowra and the surrounding area.’
The fund, totally € 3.064554 million will support 26 projects across counties Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh and involves a partnership between Cavan and Leitrim County Councils, Fermanagh District Council, Coillte, Inland Fisheries Ireland and other state agencies and draws from the work of various community groups. The funding is made up of 75% from the EU with the remaining 25% contributed by the Stormont Executive and the Irish Government. There is no local contribution to the various projects.
‘When I became a member of Cavan County Council in 2007, I placed the future of Dowra Courthouse on the agenda of Cavan County Council and met with the County Manager, Jack Keyes and with Vincent Reynolds, Chief Executive of the Enterprise Board to discuss what we could do to secure funding to put this building to a new use. I have continued to lobby for action on this project. I thank the County Manager and the Council for their cooperation with the Cavan County Enterprise Fund and in particular the work of Vincent Reynolds and his staff and Eilish McLoughlin of the West Cavan/West Fermanagh Project on this development.’
Dowra Development Association has also highlighted this issue on a regular basis and Councillor Feeley complemented them on their ongoing constructive role in the area. The funding under the project has been in the pipeline for some considerable time and a substantially lobbying effort was made through Brendan Smith TD as Minister to put the matching funding in place from the Irish Government.
‘This project will help the village and will be rolled out in the coming months. It is hugely positive. In light of this development which recognises the potential of Dowra, particularly in terms of tourism as the first village on the Shannon and the natural conclusion of the Shannon Navigation, I call on Waterways Ireland to progress their plans to extend the Shannon Navigation near to Dowra an immediately lodge the planning application to get this project moving again.