New multi-million euro Greenway strategy launched

Published by Charline Fernandez on

July 24th, 2018

The Government has launched a new strategy to invest €53 million in the planning and construction of greenways over the next three years.

Last Friday, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross, TD announced the new strategy that he says will take the importance of access to scenery into account.

The project sets out the provision of regional greenways of 40km length and National Greenways of 100km and is expected to quickly make a return on investment through tourism as the routes are likely to generate a proportion of overnight stays.

The projects should avoid the sensitivities of the natural heritage and be in compliance with the requirements of Irish and European law.

Greenway plans will also need to provide details of engagement with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and their agreement of any mitigation measures proposed if required.

The Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, said: “Our Strategy will help us fund the spine of a network of greenways that can provide links to the rest of the countryside through quiet roads that will prove attractive to many people cycling.”

He gave the example of Longford County Council, which is looking to identify a quiet route from the end of the Royal Canal Greenway in Clondra to Athlone.

The strategy is something that Ireland was “eagerly” awaiting, according to Mr Ross. “Our tourism brands all identify activity tourism as a key sector for sustainable growing tourism numbers in Ireland. People have seen the benefits that have accrued to towns along our greenways,” he said.

He also said that there will be early and widespread consultation with landowners and communities living next to proposed greenways routes.

South Kerry Greenway standoff

Kerry County Council (KCC) was accused by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) this week of by-passing the “spirit of the Greenways Strategy”  in their pursuit of the proposed South Kerry Greenway.

The farming body held a protest at the Council’s offices in Tralee today over a lack of consultation with landowners that will be potentially affected by the proposed 26km route from Glenbeigh to Cahersivee.

The IFA’s National Environment Chairman, Thomas Cooney, appealed to the Council to move back from its threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders and to participate in further dialogue with farmers.

“We have requested an agronomist to be appointed, something which the [Greenways] Strategy endorses. This, and other initiatives would be helpful in building a level of co-operation that has been at the heart of successful Greenway projects elsewhere”.

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Charline Fernandez

Charline is French and an MA journalism student at DCU. She has an interest in the environment, animals rights and rock music.