Port’s abandonment of river now recognised

The Craigavon bridge under construction in 1932.

The Craigavon bridge under construction in 1932.

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Londonderry Port’s abandonment of the River Foyle upstream of Craigavon Bridge has finally been legalised 23 years after the commission gave it up as being of “no commercial benefit.”

Although the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners (LPHC) agreed in 1992 to limit the harbour’s jurisdiction from the Craigavon Bridge to Greencastle, the law was never changed and the local body was technically responsible for the river as far as Lifford Bridge outside Strabane.

But this has now been regularised by the Department of Regional Development (DRD), which has amended the Londonderry Port and Harbour Act 1854 to “provide for the limits of jurisdiction of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners with respect to conservancy and rates as extending from Craigavon Bridge to a line drawn from Greencastle Fort in the County of Donegal to the Tower on Magilligan Point in the City and County of Londonderry.”

According to the Department: “Since the Craigavon Bridge was built in 1933, that part of the River Foyle between Craigavon Bridge and Lifford Bridge has been inaccessible to port traffic and of no commercial benefit to theCommissioners.

“In 1992, the LPHC had resolved to limit their area of responsibility and liability to the operational part of the Harbour by the abandonment of its conservancy area below the Craigavon Bridge as far as the Lifford Bridge by means of an administrative measure under Article 6 of the Londonderry Harbour Order (NI) 1991. “This administrative measure was introduced in 1992. This was, however, insufficient to achieve their aim, as this required the Department to formalise the change in legislation.”