Planning permission to allow the Ulster Canal project to begin is expected to be ratified at a planning meeting of Fermanagh District Council later this month.

It is understood that Monaghan Council has already approved the project which links Fermanagh and Monaghan.

However Sinn Fein councillor Thomas O'Reilly, from Fermaangh District Council and his cross-border counterpart, Pat Treanor Monagahan have called on the Irish Government to honour their promise of staged payments to Waterways Ireland to begin the process of making the opening of the Ulster Canal a reality.

Councillor O' Reilly said, " As members of the Clones Erne East Partnership we welcome that this is another milestone reached on the journey to see both locals and visitors to our lovely region enjoying life on and around the reopened Ulster Canal.

" The planning permission that is due for approval should be a green light to the Irish Government to make good on their previously stated intentions. This project can help revitalise an area that has seen a decline in both Fermanagh and Monagahan in recent years"

Councillor Treanor continued, " Once the Government release the funding the process should move quickly and whatever land purchases are needed will be made, we would in the interim call upon all living in the local community, from Derrykerrib to Clones to begin to think about taking advantage of the obvious business opportunities that this reopening will bring"

" Business support conferences have been held in the recent past and further conferences will be held and we would encourage all interested to take their ideas to these forums and investigate what support exists for new business start ups," he said.