Routes onto river will help us harness sailings biggest growth area

A LONDONDERRY health worker says developing accessible routes onto the River Foyle will help local people participate in the fastest growth area in sailing in Northern Ireland - disability sailing.

Cathal MacElhatton, the Western Trust’s Manager of the Foyle Disability Resource Centre, made the comments after a meeting to discuss Foyle Sailability for people with disabilities.

“Disabled Sailing is now recognised as the fastest growth area in sailing in Northern Ireland and this meeting is about looking at what is needed to develop accessible facilities and sailing opportunities for people with disabilities and how this development can be supported locally,” he stated.

He continued: “People with physical disabilities have to date had great difficulty in getting from the shore and on to boats and also in sailing particular vessels.

“However, times have changed and there are now sailing boats which can accommodate people with disabilities and can provide them with sailing and training opportunities on the Foyle.

“With the development of accessible routes on to Lough Foyle, people with disabilities will be able to access this activity for the first time independently.”

The initiative is supported by local political representatives, The Loughs Agency, Derry City Council, The Port Authority, Lough Foyle Yachting Association, Moville Yacht Club, Ocean Youth Trust, Royal Yachting Association, Belfast Lough Sailability and a wide range of other disability organisations.”

“The Foyle Sailability initiative is aimed at securing access to Watersports and particularly sailing for people with disabilities in the North West,” he said.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Cathal MacElhatton Manager, Foyle Disability Resource Centre, by telephoning: (028) 71 266593.