Work begins on Forkhill barracks redevelopment

August 14, 2012

By Christine Keighery

The long awaited redevelopment of the site of the former army barracks in Forkhill is finally underway this week.  Local residents, businesses and community and political leaders have campaigned tirelessly for the regeneration of the site, described as “a blight on Forkhill.”

Despite several setbacks, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Department for Social Development (DSD) worked alongside the Forkhill and District Development Association (FADDA) to bring the project forward, with the then Agriculture Minister announcing the purchase of the site in 2010.

Since then the partners have placed their focus on a community led project, with locals consulted throughout the process.  Plans for social and affordable housing to be constructed on the site were heartily welcomed by the community and this week’s commencement of work on ten social housing dwellings marks the beginning of ambitious redevelopment plans for the eight acre site.

The two and three bedroom homes will incorporate the latest in green technology and will be available for those on the housing list.  As well as a further ten dwellings, which are likely to be confirmed early next year, the remainder of the regeneration project will include business units, childcare facilities and an all-weather pitch.

FADDA chairman, Raymond McCumiskey, has also revealed that the proposed name for the housing project is Pairc Urnai, which, he says, celebrates the area’s “strong local history.”

Mr McCumiskey added,

“After a long wait, disappointments and much planning, it all seems to be falling into place.  Obviously funding still needs to be secured but we’re very excited about how this is set to improve life in our village and district.”

Forkhill councillor Anthony Flynn also welcomed the commencement of work on the former army barracks site.

Councillor Flynn, who has recently been nominated to the board of FADDA, said,

“I’m delighted that, at last, what was once a blight on the community in Forkhill can now be put to good use.  FADDA, along with local politicians, residents and business people have worked tirelessly on bringing this ambitious project to fruition since the last troops left in 2006.

“At long last, this piece of ground is back under the ownership of the local community, where it always should have been.”