Next phase of the Dublin Galway Greenway could be open by Easter

Next phase of the Dublin Galway Greenway could be open by Easter

Dublin Galway Greenway is the centrepiece of the National Greenway Strategy

Dublin Galway Greenway is the centrepiece of the National Greenway Strategy

TII to take the lead in completing the Dublin Galway Greenway

It was announced this week, that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will be handed the lead role in delivering the remaining sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Minister is supportive of Longford Council's Royal Canal Greenway plans

Minister Pascal O'Donohue appears to be impressed with Longford Councils forward planning for the extension of the Royal Canal Greenway to Abbeyshrule.

In response to a Dail question from Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil TD for Longford/Westmeath, on Blueway and Greenway plans in the county of Longford, the Minister stated that while funding is fully allocated until 2016, Longford is well placed to secure future funding based on their forward planning.

The minister said "All Department funding for the delivery of greenways is fully committed up until 2016.  However, the development of a greenway along the Royal Canal from Abbeyshrule to Ballymahon is among those projects to which my Department will give serious consideration in the event of additional funding becoming available. Any funding award would include provision for the installation of signage and direction markers to highlight the existence of and assist users of the greenway.

Officials from my Department along with colleagues from the National Trails Office and Fáilte Ireland visited the location of this proposed greenway recently and its suitability and I expect to have the results of their assessment of this and a number of other proposals shortly.

I understand that planning permission is already in place for this project and this will certainly be of benefit should funding become available.  Indeed, I would urge other local authorities to follow Longford County Council's lead in progressing projects through the planning phase from their own resources as this will mean that projects are shovel ready and thus easier to allocate funding to"

Monday, November 23, 2015

440K to be spent in 2016 on Dublin End of Dublin Galway Greenway

Over €10 million is to be spent on planning and construction of transport projects in the Dublin City Council area in 2016. Contained within this budget €0.44m is planned to be used for the Royal Canal Cycle Route which is part of the Dublin Galway Greenway.

As previously reported on this blog, Dublin City Council have plans to build a cycle path along the Royal Canal in Dublin which will eventually form part of the Dublin to Galway greenway. The Dublin City Council project is to include a cycle and pedestrian route along the Royal Canal from Sheriff Street Upper to Ashtown. The 7.5 km route has been divided into three phases and the work is expected to cost between €10-12 million.

Minister o'Donohue announced last month that priority would be given to the Kildare and Meath sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway while consultations continue about a route west of the Shannon. Minister O'Donohue anticipated that work would start next year on that section with the view to opening the Dublin Galway greenway as far as Athlone in 2017. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Minister says pause on Galway section will give time for development of a new route

Minister Donohue says that the pause on the Galway/Roscommon section will give time for the consideration of a new route that has local support. Responding to Roscommon South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten, Minister Donohoe acknowledged that was large support for the route in Roscommon but also acknowledged that difficulties lay with the Galway section of the route.

Now officials will go back to the drawing board on deciding a route west of the Shannon based on strong local consultation. It is likely that the minister will ask the TII to look at all options including land that is in public ownership as called for by Denis Naughten.

Audio file is the property of Shannonside News and simply relinked here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Work to start early next year on the Kildare and Meath sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway

In reponse to Deputy Anthony Lawlor's question, Minister Pascal Donohue said that he expects the preparatory work on the Kildare and Meath portions of the greenway will begin in the first half of next year. 
Minister Donohue, went on to say that he expects that those new portions of the greenway to be open by the summer of 2017, which will then allow the first half of the greenway to fully open.
During the same exchange, Deputy Denis Naughten challenged the minister on his position about the use of public lands for the greenway route west of the Shannon. Deputy Naugthen, who admits that he is probably the only public representative to say publicly that he wants the greenway between Athlone and Galway to proceed, appears to be favouring a route that would bring the cycleway from Athlone to Ballinasloe by means of a physical segregation along the existing N6 as far as Aughrim.
Details of the Dail record can be accessed here:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Coast to Coast Greenway could avoid Galway altogether after major opposition

Disclaimer: This is a hypothetical article on alternatives to a coast to coast greenway that avoids Galway.

It's summer 2018 and the hugely anticipated national coast to coast greenway opened recently. The successful tourist route is already breathing life into towns and villages right across the country. Thousands of tourists are using the greenway and businesses right along the route are seeing huge ecomonic opportunities. The greenway route is not only being used by tourists, but it also being used by local people for recreation and school children for commuting to and from school. Some people living in rural communities have commented that this is the first time that they have had a safe route for walking and cycling. 

In late 2015, the Dublin Galway greenway hit major opposition and the route was modified to avoid Galway altogether. At that time Galway farmers mounted an IFA backed campaign to oppose the greenway through their communities. They were angered by the manner of the consultation and they had concerns about the impact the greenway would have on the productive use of their farms. The transport and tourism minister, Pascal Donaghue, decided to pause the Galway section and focus spending on the Meath and Kildare sections of the Greenway. This decision proved a very wise one as it connected the newly opened Athlone and Mullingar greenway and the Mullingar to Longford greenway. 

Following the success of the Kildare and Meath sections of the greenway, the Longford and Westmeath council agreed to create a triangular loop between the towns of Longford, Athlone and Mullingar. This circular route took in the "old rail" trail on the disused Athlone to Mullingar railway, the Royal Canal greenway from Mullingar to Longford and the picturesque Lakeside cycle along the shores of Lough Ree between Longford and Athlone. 

This created a major cycling destination in the midlands for multi-day holidays and put Ireland on the international map for cycling holidays. A few months later, the greenway network was further extended to Ballinasloe using a route that was 90% in state ownership.

The last section connecting Longford to Westpost was opened by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Tourism and Transport last month. This completed the final section of the coast-to-coast greenway and connects the national greenway to the hugely successful Western greenway in Mayo. The tourism potential of this cycling product is huge. Europe cycling tourism is big business. Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million

Plans are also afoot to connect the coast to coast greenway to the proposed Sligo to Athreny greenway at Charlestown, Co. Mayo in a move that will eventually bring the greenway to Galway.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a fictional article but one that the author believes could make a lot of sense. Dont book your holiday based on any information in this post.  

RTE's CountryWide coverage of the Dublin Galway Greenway

RTE CountryWide, which covers farming matters, provided coverage about the farmer's concern about the Dublin Galway greenway on their show (7th Nov 2015).

Albert Smith from the group KeepIrelandOpen is joined by the Jerry Armstrong from the IFA in Galway.  The podcast below makes for interesting listening and uncovers the amount of suspicion and disrepect on all sides. Hopefully the decision by the minister to pause the Galway section but continue with the Kildare/Meath section will give space to rebuild the relationships that are needed to make this project successful.

Audio file is the property of RTE Country Wide and simply relinked here.

RTE Interview with Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport on the way forward for the Galway to Dublin greenway

For those who have an interest, we have reposted the RTE Interview with Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, where he discusses his decision to pause the development of the Galway-Roscommon section of the new Galway to Dublin greenway. It is interesting to note the Ministers confidence that the cross country route will definitely be built and will be in public ownership.

Audio file is the property of RTE Morning Ireland and simply relinked here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Detailed Report shows that Greenway had support as far as Ballinasloe

This blog can reveal that the detailed report that resulted in pausing of the Dublin Galway Greenway in Galway showed large support for Greenway in Roscommon but opposition was high in East Galway.

In the proposed section from Ballinasloe to Athlone, mostly in County Roscommon, the results of the landowners consultation was positive. In a sample of  arroud 32% of the landowners in the route corridor (136 landowners), 74.3% accept the route corridor, while 19.9% object to it and 5.9% are undecided. When State-owned lands are factored into the figures it seems that almost 90% of the emerging route has acceptance in this section.

However, in Galway County and City, the acceptance of the route was much less favoured. Consultations  with a sample of around 20% of the landowners (194 landowners) along that route corridor record that c. 27% of landowners would accommodate a route for the cycleway on their lands, c. 63% would object to it with 8% undecided.

The graphic below from the report shows a large majority of landowners in Roscommon favouring the greenway.

We can also report that TD Denis Naughten representing Roscommon/South Leitrim has been trying to convince the minister to proceed with the greenway and work with the state agencies to asess state owned land that could be used west of Ballinasloe.

Given this information, it is looking like a good decision from the Minister to reallocate the funding to complete the Eastern sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway in Kildare and Meath while more efforts are made to find a suitable route.