Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Forkhill Pathway Project launched

Part of the former Forkhill Army Base site has benefitted from over £350,000 of environmental improvement works funded by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The Forkhill site is a significant open space in the centre of the South Armagh village. After being derelict for many years, the new Forkhill Greenspace Pathway Project represents another phase of development on the site. The new project has resulted in an 800 metre circular pathway with associated lighting being installed around the boundary of the site.  At various points along the pathway there are seated areas, with bulb and tree planting throughout.

Speaking at the launch of the project Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said, “I have enjoyed working with this Forkhill Project over this last few years and I am delighted that this pathway phase has been completed. It will be a great asset to the village and I look forward to working with the local community and groups such as the Forkhill and District Development Association (FADDA) in development of the overall site in future years”.

Prior to the commencement of site works by contractors McAvoy Construction, Scheme Consultants AECOM had worked very closely with the local St Oliver Plunkett Primary School on a public art project. Together with the consultants and contractor, art work images designed by the P5, P6 and P7 pupils were installed throughout the site. This Artwork depicts imagery associated with the Ring of Gullion as well as other items in local and national geography and history.

Speaking on behalf of the Forkhill and District Development Association (FADDA), Mr Bernard Boyle said, “The delivery of this Pathway Scheme represents the completion of another one of the key projects from the original site master-plan”.

Mr Bernard continued, “FADDA welcomes the continued partnership approach with agencies such as Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and DAERA, which will be important in taking forward the remaining elements of overall site development’. 

Welcoming the opening of the Forkhill Peace Forest – as it has become known, SDLP Councillor Pete Byrne said, 

“It was an absolute privilege to join all those who played a significant role in the regeneration of this site. The relationship between the Forkhill Development Association, the funders, developers and local Council has allowed for this vision of a Peace Forest to become a reality.

“Once the home of a British Army Watchtower, it has now been reclaimed for local people to enjoy, enriching the lives of those in Forkhill and surrounding areas. It is also symbolic of what can be achieved through the peace process.

“Special thanks must go to the pupils and staff of St Oliver Plunkett Primary School, Forkhill, who have taken a real ownership of the project. With over 100 pieces of artwork from the students now on permanent display around the walking track and future audio trails to be developed, the children have stamped their proud ownership firmly on the new facility. A new space which they can be extremely proud of and which I look forward to visiting for years to come.”