Hopes to extend gas network
A number of cross-border and shared initiatives towards economic and social development in towns and villages across the region have been proposed for the, as yet, draft version of the Cavan County Development Plan 2022-2028.
It includes an objective promoted by Fianna Fáil’s John Paul Feeley who sought for the council to consider expanding the gas network in the county by means of a link up with Northern Ireland infrastructure if necessary.
The most recent assessment of West Cavan was undertaken by Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) between 2006 and 2010 and it deemed connecting Ballyconnell or Cavan Town to the gas network as unviable.
In 2017, Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) committed to reviewing towns that did not qualify for connection to natural gas supply previously, including Cavan Town. More than 20 new towns across the region were connected to the natural gas supply previously including Cootehill.
However, the main construction phase of a £250 million project pipeline bringing natural gas to major towns in Northern Ireland was completed early last year and the scope for connection to that line was highlighted.
By August 2020 one of the Border region’s largest employers, glass-manufacturer Enric, had completed its switch over to using natural gas. The Derrylin company made the conversion as part of a three-year, £40 million investment programme.
The amendment to the CDP, seconded by Independent Brendan Fay, placed on a formal footing that Cavan County Council would support and promote the improvement and the expansion of the gas network in Cavan, ‘including a cross-border expansion’.
The motion was supported by Senior Planner Nicholas O’Kane who said that it served to “add” to the existing objective contained within the plan.
Another of Cllr Feeley’s motions sought that the council will ‘work closely’ with Leitrim County Council when it comes to the future development of Dowra village.
The motion was seconded by Peter McVitty (FG) and again supported by the Mr O’Kane, who commented that given the location of the village at the western extremity of the county boundary, such a shared goal for development “makes sense”.
Similarly, Cllr Feeley proposed that the council support the ‘economic and social’ links that exist between Blacklion and Belcoo in neighbouring Co Fermanagh, and endeavour to maximise the potential of the Blacklion Enterprise Centre.
Both motions were again supported by Cllr McVitty.