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.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Minister Ross says he is determined to see the Dublin Galway greenway

Minister Shane Ross, says the Dublin Galway Greeway "may have been paused but it has not been halted" and that he remains committed to achieving the delivery of the Dublin Galway greenway. Speaking in the Dail in response to Robert Troy, Fianna Fail TD for Longford-Westmeath, Minister Ross said he believes the greenway will help to position Ireland as a destination for cycling holidays.

Robert Troy was asking the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he expects the proposed greenway from Dublin to Galway to be completed. Minister Troy criticized the consultation that happening up to now with landowners affected and he asked if the Minister and his officials would meet a group which has been set up and which is representative of people who are concerned about this section of the planned route. Minister was positive but said he was not " inclined to get involved in a local dispute if I think it will not do any good".

Minister Ross says that officials from his Department will consult all stakeholders in the coming months. This engagement will involve the Irish Farmers' Association, IFA, and with other stakeholders.

In a point being picked up by several news media outlets the minister crucially said that "in addition to identifying and agreeing a preferred route, potential levels of compensation to affected landowners will be examined."

Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesperson, Deputy Troy says the route doesn’t have to go through private land.

Audio file is the property of Midlands103 News and simply relinked here.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Work Starting On Shovel Ready Sections of the Royal Canal Greenway

Following on from the funding announcement for the Royal Canal greenway, the local authorities and Waterways Ireland, are moving quickly to start on the latest sections of the Royal Canal greenway. This is excellent news and will be strongly welcomed by community groups and campaigners along the canal. This news will raise hopes among the campaigners that are hoping for the route to be completed to Clondra and should demonstrate to Minister Ross that when funds are allocated that they can be used effectively to build world class amenities. Minister Ross has pubically stated his support for greenways and says that they provide excellent value for money and benefits to local communities.

Moyvalley to Ballasport

MARINE NOTICE No.  118 of 2016
Royal Canal
Cycle Path Construction

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise that the towpath of Royal Canal from Moyvalley to Ballasport and Longford Bridge to Abbeyshrule will be closed with immediate effect to facilitate the construction of cyclepaths.

East and West of Kilcock

MARINE NOTICE No 132 of 2016

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise that the towpath of the Royal Canal near Kilcock, from Chambers Bridge Lock 15 to the R148 road (approx. 600 meters), will be closed until December 2016 to facilitate the  onstruction of a new cycle route.

MARINE NOTICE No 139 of 2016
Additional Towpath Closure - 16th Lock to Spin Bridge

Further to MN 132/2016 Waterways Ireland wishes to further advise that the towpath of the Royal Canal in Kilcock from west of the 16th Lock Shaw Bridge
to Spin Bridge (approx. 950 metres), will also be closed until December 2016 to facilitate the construction of a new cycle route

Also, the Longford Leader is reporting this week that major work is commencing on the Abbeyshrule to Ballymahon section and further calls have been made to continue the route to Clondra, Co. Longford (the actually end of the Royal Canal). The Shannonside newsroom has reported that the minister is being requested to provide a modest anount of funds to complete the entire route to the very end.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

€23.5 million was allocated to Greenways over the period 2012 to 2016

A total of €23.5 million has been allocated to Greenways over the period 2012 to 2016 in Ireland. In a response to Tony McLoughlin (Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim), Minister Shane Ross provided details to the Dail last week. 

Minister Ross stated that "Under the National Cycle Network (NCN) Funding Programme approximately €23.5 million was allocated over the period 2012 to 2016 to advance cycle routes that provided valuable transport and recreational infrastructure, with the added potential to enhance tourist activity for the areas concerned.  This includes €10 million allocated under the Government Stimulus package 2014.
Under the first tranche of NCN funding for the years 2012/2013, fifteen cycling projects were completed by local authorities across the country with €7 million in funding provided.  Under the second tranche of NCN funding for the years 2014-2016, a further three projects shared in funding of €6.3 million.  Of these three projects only one (in Waterford) has been completed.
In May 2014, a €10 million investment package for greenway development was announced by Government as part of the €200 million national infrastructure package.  Eleven cycling projects were selected to share in this funding and eight of these projects have now been completed.
In July 2016, €3.5 million was reallocated from the second tranche of NCN funding to projects in Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford as two of the original projects selected (Kerry and Galway) were not in a position to draw down their full allocation for 2016."

According to reports, work has already started in Westmeath on the extension of the Old Rail Trail into Athlone and further work is progressing on the Longford section of the Royal Canal west of Abbeyshrule. Groups along the Royal Canal in Kildare/Meath are eagerly awaiting the commencement of work the section that will complete the link between Kildare and Westmeath/Longford.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September Greenway Updates From Around Ireland

    There was some great news for the Dublin Galway greenway over the summer including funding for the Meath/Kildare sections and extension in Westmeath and Longford. But away from the Dublin Galway Greenway, there have been more developments around the country that we have been keeping an eye on. More updates to follow. 

    GREENWAY NEWS from Derry

  • Council says extension of cyclepath to Strathfoyle not dependant on EU funding
    Derry Journal

    “However, much talk of the greenway plans becoming a reality were based on Derry City and Strabane District Council securing funding from the ...

    GREENWAY NEWS from Leitrim

  • Heritage Week to be marked in Dromahair
    Leitrim Observer

    The Dromahair Heritage Group believe the 'Abbey Loop', as part of a bigger greenway, could help revive the fortunes of the village as has been the ...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Royal Canal Greenway Phase 4 halted due to Luas funding

Phase Four of the Royal Canal Greenway which is an integral part of the Dublin Galway greenway has been put on hold due to funding being reserved for Luas work.

In a statement, the National Transport Authority which provides funding for the project said that the resources of Dublin City Council need to be "re-focussed" because of the demands of Luas cross city and other traffic management schemes. The NTA said "as the various projects linked to Luas cross city are progressed, resources will then be released to reactivate the other projects.

The Royal Canal Greenway and other cycleways were part of a €30 million funding package for cycling facilities in the greater Dublin area announced by the government two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Green Party has called on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross and the Irish Road Safety Authority to reconsider existing approaches to road safety and set a goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries on Ireland's roads. Green Party Transport Spokesperson and chair of Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee, Cllr Ciaran Cuffe said "Minister Ross must dedicate greater resources to improving walking and cycling across Ireland. Money for gold-plated road projects should be put on hold until such time as we adequately fund sustainable transport projects."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Major News on the Dublin Galway Greenway

Supporters of the Dublin Galway Greenway project received some excellent news when it was announced that KildareMeathLongford and Westmeath are to receive funding for greenway projects following a decision by tourism minister Shane Ross to release unspent funds which, according to the minister, would otherwise not be drawn down this year.
Following a review of the Cycle Network funding call of 2014, the minister concluded that not all the funding would be fully drawn down in 2016. Minister Ross decided to direct the funds to greenway projects that were  ‘shovel-ready’.
The total funding involved amounts to over €3.5 million, with €2.5m of that going to the 38-kilometre section running from Maynooth in Co Kildare to the border of Co Westmeath.
Ross stated: “Since my appointment, I have been particularly struck by the far-reaching benefits that greenways can bring to the localities in which they are situated, as is evidenced by the success of the Great Western Greenway and other projects around the country. I am pleased to now announce funding for three projects in four counties that have planning permission in place. I am confident that the projects in Longford and Westmeath will be finished by the end of this year, while the project in Kildare and Meath will be finished by the end of 2017.
“These projects build on the great success of the Old Rail Trail between Athlone and Mullingar and will provide the country with a long distance, multi-day, off-road cycling route that I’m sure will prove to be a great attraction for tourists, both foreign and local, and indeed anyone looking for a wonderful day out.”
“Funding the Kildare and Meath sections of the Galway to Dublin greenway shows my department’s commitment to the medium-term goal of completing this coast to coast greenway.”
The Dublin Galway greeway project was 'paused' last year by the previous minister, Pascal O'Donohue, when the project ran into opposition from landowners in East Galway. At the time the minister decided to focus investment on the sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway that had planning in place. The decision by minister Shane Ross to allocate funding to Westmeath, Meath and Kildare is hoped will accelerate support for the Dublin Galway greenway and will provide space for a new round of consultation with the landowners in East Galway to find suitable alternative routes.
Maynooth – Westmeath Co. Border
38km (part of the Dublin to Galway Greenway)
Abbeyshrule to Longford Bridge, Ballymahon
15.2km extension to Mullingar to Abbeyshrule Greenway
Garrycastle to White Gates
2.2km extension to the Mullingar to Athlone Greenway

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hopes for a breakthrough on the Dublin Galway Greenway

The Transport Minister, Shane Ross, said yesterday that he hopes to do something in "a more concrete way" to solve the impasse on the Dublin Galway greenway. Minister Ross was answering a question in the Dail from FF TD Robert Troy on the long delays for the project.

Minister Ross agreed with Robert Troy that the ‘Greenway’ holds a huge tourism potential for the  Midlands. He also said that in the meantime, he would "examine potential funding options to deliver the sections of the Galway to Dublin greenway in counties Kildare and Meath that have planning permission in place and may be progressed quickly". He also went on to highlight the huge potential for the Midlands to be a destination in its own right by commenting that "the completion of these sections would allow for the provision of a fully off-road greenway from Maynooth to Athlone. The provision of this 100 km section, combined with the 26 km Mullingar to Abbeyshrule greenway, would provide a multi-day cycling experience which would be attractive to visitors from home and overseas."

The following is an audio clip of Minister Shane Ross's Dail statement on the matter. Audio file is the property of and simply relinked here.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What can the Dublin Galway Greenway planners learn from the Sheep's Head Way in West Cork?

RTE's Nationwide show on Friday 27th May 2016 examined how the rural community on the Sheep's Head peninsula in West Cork are benefiting from walking and cycling routes. The RTE programme highlighted the benefits and some of the concerns of the communities but it also highlighted how the Sheep's Head way could serve as a model for encouraging community support for other national greenways.

The show mentioned that there are many positive impacts that accrue to communities that embrace tourism. But the presenter, Anne Cassin, also spoke about the opposition from landowners on other prominent greenway projects such as the the Dublin to Galway greenway route and the proposed greenway in Kerry.

The story of the Sheep's Head way goes back 20 years when the community and farmers decided to open their land under permissive access for a cycling and walking route. 260 farmers came together and gave their permission for their land to be used for a walking route. RTE's show pointed out that the trust was there from the start and it was the farmers themselves that decided to open their lands for the route. 

However there were initial concerns in a number of areas. The concerns about insurance were addressed by the government. In 2008 the government set up a insurance scheme as part of the national walk scheme.  There were also concerns around 'rights of way'which were surmounted by a system of 'permission access' where the route is closed for 1 day each year (on the 31st Jan every year) so no right of way can be established. There were also initially concerns about obstructio of productive farming by blocking of gateways and walkers dogs but these were resolved by more investment in parking areas and proper signage. 

One of the main reasons for the success of the Sheep's Head way is that the farmers have a say through the rural recreation officer and a system of committees. As such, the farmers do not have to deal with faceless bureaucrats and can have any issues or concerns addressed more quickly.

Now the whole Sheep's head community can see the benefits with many new tourism related business opportunities in the area and additional employment. Many farmers have branched into agri-tourism and self-catering and some have reported that their income from tourism is starting to exceed their income from their traditional farming. The report went on to say that even if a farmer does not directly benefit from the walks that they can indirectly benefit from greater choice in amenities in the area such as new restaurants and coffee shops. Since this scheme is such a success for all involved, now the good will of farmers adds to the experience of the walkers and cyclists.

According the Patrica Bevin, the rural recreation officer for the Sheep's Head way, these schemes have to come from the "bottom up and it is crucial that it starts from the community and the farmers themselves. The community needs to see the opportunity for something special themselves and only then can the walkways and cycle-ways can come from this."

This RTE's nationwide show can be found on the RTE player at the following location (time limited):

Friday, May 27, 2016

New harbour finished at Royal Canal Park

The new harbour has been finished at Royal Canal Park. This was developed by Ballymore as part of the Royal Canal Park housing development. The cycleway along the canal bank has been reopened. As can be seen from the photos - the harbour is excellently built and will make for a very attractive feature on the Dublin Galway Greenway,

Monday, May 2, 2016


Editor’s Note: Many of our readers have contacted us and asked us how plans to develop the Dublin Galway Greenway were going. Here’s what we found out

A little over six months ago, the Minister of Transport, Pascal Donohue, announced that the western end of the Dublin Galway greenway project would be paused to allow local issues be resolved while Kildare/Meath section would get the green light for immediate investment. This article will examine the current status of the project and look at the potential outcomes in 2016.

As a background, the Dublin Galway greenway will be Ireland’s first cross-country cycle route covering a total distance of 210 km. The greenway forms a critical part of the Dublin to Galway Euro Velo Route #2 [readers correction] and was announced as a strategic government project by Minister Leo Varadkar in 2012. 

While the project was strongly supported in the east of the country, problems started to emerge at the western end due to landownership issues. Last September (2015) a report from TII (formerly NRA) was sent to Minister Paschal Donohoe on their dealings to date with landowners in east Galway.  This was in the context of pockets of entrenched and organised opposition in east Galway and political lobbying on behalf of the objectors by their local representatives. The report recorded landowners’ concerns and also recorded that there was a roughly 60/30 percentage split against the project as first proposed (i.e. on agricultural land) with the other 10% undecided or unresolved.  The Minister instructed TII and local authority team members in the West to stand down and suspended work west of the Shannon, announcing that he would be focusing instead on the shovel-ready sectors in the east (primarily along the Royal Canal). 

So 6 months on from this announcement, how is the project progressing and when will we see Ireland's first coast to coast greenway open?

The Route
While the Dublin Galway greenway will eventually provide 210km of uninterrupted cycle and walk ways, the route is actually series of smaller connected routes. The greenway crosses 6 counties and will be eventually delivered by 7 local authorities and Waterways Ireland. Each authority is progressing their sections independently under the direction of TII. Work will be undertaken by the local authorities and Waterways Ireland subject to funding from central government. Below we will summarise the progress on each of the greenway sections.

·         Dublin to Ashtown: 7.1 km in length. Dublin city council are progressing with developing a 7.1-kilometre pedestrian and cycle track from Dublin's Sherrif St to Ashtown in Dublin 15. As reported recently in the Dublin Inquirer the project got off to a slow start but is now moving at pace. The project will be delivered over a number of stages. The public consultation was done and dusted in July 2015 and planning permission has been granted.  Of the four phases of the Royal Canal project, one is finished and three are yet to be done. The first was a cycle route of 400 metres from Guild Street to Sheriff Street Upper. That bit was actually already done before the plans for the project were drawn up, which then included it as Phase 1. Phase 2 will stretch over 520 metres from Sheriff Street Upper to the North Strand Road. The plan is to include space along the route to accommodate a playground and a skate park. Phase 3 is longer. It’s 2.1 kilometres, to be exact, and continues on from North Strand Road up to Phibsborough Road at CrossGuns Bridge. Under the plans, the route will be resurfaced and there will be a new access ramp at Croke Park. Phase 4, from CrossGuns Bridge to Ashtown, will be even longer: 4.3 kilometres.

Dublin City Council's Royal Canal Greenway Phases

·         Ashtown to Castleknock: 2.5 km in length. The Ashtown to Castleknock section of a proposed coast-to-coast Greenway was officially opened in June 2014 by the then Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar. The €2 million Ashtown to Castleknock stretch is a fully surfaced 2.5km Greenway along the Royal Canal. It has been broadly welcomed as a valuable local amenity for walkers, cyclists and other local residents in west Dublin. 

·         Castleknock to Fingal County Border: According to local sources, Fingal County Council hope to put out a tender in Spring 2016 for the design of plan for the cycleway, starting at the 12 Lock and finishing at the Kildare border. The exact finishing point for this survey is still uncertain and dependent on TII confirming how much funding Fingal has to undertake the design tender. According to authorities, "the engineers in Fingal see the 'Deep Sinking' section as the major blockage in the whole Royal Canal Greenway project and they want it resolved once and for all. Once the design is done, we still have to wait for funding from TII to undertake the actual work." The TII has listed greenways as a priority area for investment and Fingal has identified this project as a priority we are told.
Potential Engineering Design for the Deep Sinking

·         Maynooth to Meath/Westmeath county border: 38 km in length. Royal Canal towpaths. Planning has been approved. The project has been divided into 2 parts. The Maynooth to Kildare/Fingal border and the Maynooth to Meath/Westmeath border. A public consultation process was run in February 2016 with many interested parties calling for the route to be more commuter friendly. Officially we are hearing that construction can commence pending availability of funding. According to local sources we have also heard that there are some rumblings lately that the local authorities may be getting some funding this year to do some of the 38km but nothing is confirmed yet. Vegetation on the tow path was cleared in February 2016 to be ready to go. Sources close to Kildare county council have indicated that a section around Kilcock could be the first part to be tackled in 2016.

·         Meath/Westmeath county border to Mullingar West: 27 km in length. Royal Canal towpaths.  This section was opened in 2014. This is an excellent section of the greenway and is regularly used by local people for walking and cycling.

·         Mullingar to Garrycastle, Athlone: 40 km in length. Disused railway line.  This section was completed autumn 2015 and was officially opened in October 2015 by an Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The route has been named and branded locally as the 'old rail trail' and is attracting a lot of users both local people and tourists. It is the center piece in the successful marketing of Athlone as a tourist destination.

·         Garrycastle to Athlone Marina: 4.5 km in length. Urban environs.  The next 4.5km heading west from Garrycastle in Athlone to the Shannon received planning in Dec 2015. An EIS for the new cycle bridge and cycleway as far as Athlone Castle will be submitted to An Board Pleanala next month. West of Athlone Castle to Galway on hold awaiting further instruction from the Minister.

·         Athlone Marina to Athlone Castle: 0.5 km in length. River Crossing. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this section which includes a new bridge over the River Shannon, is currently being prepared and submission to An Bord Pléanala is planned.

·         Athlone Castle to Ballinasloe: 30 km in length. Rural environs; Greenfield. Paused due to objections in East Galway. It must be pointed out that there was significantly more support in Roscommon for the greenway than there was in East Galway. As reported in this blog the report from TII indicated that 74.3% of landowners in Roscommon accepted the route corridor. It was reported that there was disappointment locally following the ministers decision to pause the western end of the project.

·         Ballinasloe to Galway City: 110 km in length. Rural environs; Greenfield. Paused due to local objections. In Galway 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. It is clear that there are challenges to rebuild the trust of the landowners again in East Galway.

The Next Step

Based on the status above, it is hopeful that we will see a completed route as far as Athlone in the coming number of years. The local authorities in Dublin, Fingal, Meath, Kildare and Westmeath are working towards getting their sections complete in 2016 or 2017. These counties have put in place all the required planning and crucially the lands in questions are all in public ownership. It must also be mentioned that Waterways Ireland, who have officially ownership of the canal tow paths are very much behind the project. It is therefore highly likely that we will see the route opened as far as Athlone by 2017.

The western end of the Dublin Galway greenway is a little less certain. In light of the entrenched opposition to the use of agricultural land for the route it seems unlikely that a simple solution will be found any time soon. Some campaigners have called for the use of the old N6 but cycling groups do not think that this is a suitable route. Other campaigners have questioned why the coast to coast route could not travel via Royal Canal all the way to Longford and from there join with the proposed Sligo to Athenry greenway at Charlestown. While other local representatives such as TD Denis Naughten have called for the use of state owned lands for the route in Roscommon and Galway. Another way to break the impasse could be the thoughtful interjection of the newly elected IFA President Joe Healy. Joe Healy is from Galway and could help build trust again between the authorities and the farmers in Galway.

The project when fully completed is expected to cost around €100 million and has the potential to bring in tourism revenue of hundreds of million Euros annually to rural areas that badly need employment. As an example of the scale of the opportunity, 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.

Given the imminent arrival of a new government, it is hoped that new impetus can be put into this project. Fine Gael have previously promised over 100m Euros for greenway and blueway projects over the lifetime of the next government. It also has to be said that Pascal Donohue has been very supportive of this project and has recently reiterated that this greenway is a strategic project for the government.

It is hoped that funding will now be made available for the authorities to continue with the work that they have started. Many campaigners are calling for more investment in rural areas so the project looks like it may have a new dawn in 2016.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

1.65 million funding allocated in 2016 for Dublin Galway Greenway

Last week the outgoing transport minister Paschal Donohoe outlined the 2016 funding for the Dublin Galway Greenway. The funding was announced as part of a 23.2M funding package by the National Transport Authority for the Greater Dublin Area for 2016.

The overall funding includes provision for DublinBikes expansion, and construction or further planning on walking/cycle routes

In total, 1.65 million Euro will be made available for Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council and Kildare County Council. This allocation is specifically for the upgrade of the Royal Canal which will form the backbone of the Dublin Galway greenway on the eastern end of the national cycle route.

Dublin City Council will receive 900,000 for the Royal Canal greenway which is broken down as follows:

  • Royal Canal Cycle Route (Phase 2) - detailed design North Strand Road to Sherif Street. 500,000
  • Royal Canal Cycle Route (Phase 3) - detailed design North Strand Road to Phibsborough. 200,000
  • Royal Canal Cycle Route (Phase 4) - tender preparation Phibsborough to Ashtown - 200,000

Fingal County Council will receive 350,000 for the Royal Canal preliminary design and to the start the planning process for the route from 12th lock at Castleknock to the Fingal/Kildare county border. Sources in the council have told this blog that FingalCoCo hope to put out a tender after Easter for the design of plan for the cycleway, starting at the 12 Lock and finishing at the Kildare border. The exact finishing point for this survey is still uncertain and dependent on the National Transport Authority confirming how much funding Fingal has to undertake the design tender.

Kildare County Council will received 365,000 for commencement of construction of Royal Canal route between Maynooth and the Kildare/Fingal border. Kildare county council recently held a public consultation on the route.

While it is great to see the funding being made available, it is disappointing that there is no funding allocated to Meath County Council for the section of the Royal Canal greenway that traverses through Co. Meath.  It is unclear if Meath County Council requested funding.

Minister Donohoe said:”As economic activity continues to grow it is important that we encourage greater use of sustainable public transport options”

The breakdown of the funding is included below:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Center Parcs Planning Approval calls for a link to the Royal Canal Greenway

Now that planning permission is granted, it is hoped that Longford Forest can be linked to the Royal Canal Greenway. According to planning documents seen by this blog, a new off road cycle link between Newcastle Woods and the Royal Canal Greenway is being considered as part of the development of the Center Parcs holiday park.

The decision to grant planning permission, subject to 22 conditions was announced this week. The planning grant included a clause that Center Parcs will have to provide almost €1 million (€951,420) to Longford County Council as a contribution to the upgrading of public infrastructure in the area of the development. Furthermore, details of the planning conditions specifically calls for a off road cycle link to the Royal Canal.

This decision to grant permission is welcomed by campaigners for the Royal Canal Greenway and is a vote of confidence in the work carried out by Longford Council so far. Longford Council have developed the Royal Canal Greenway as far as Abbeyshrule and are planning to bring the canal cycleway to the junction of the Royal Canal and the N55 by Summer 2016. Campaigners are calling for funding to be provided to complete the cycleway all the way to Longford Town and thereby joining with the Longford to Clondra greenway and possible connections to the Mayo Greenway and the Greenways planned in Leitrim.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cross party support from Longford Westmeath Candidates for Longford Royal Canal Greenway

We would like to congratulate the remaining candidates in the Longford Westmeath constituency and thank all other candidates who declared their support for the completion of the Longford Greenway during the election campaign.

Many of remaining candidates responded positively to our pre-election survey of candidates by email which asked a simple question “Do you support current policy as declared by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport to complete the Royal Canal Greenway in Longford?”

We are delighted the completion of the greenway has cross-party support. For example, Robert Troy (FF), told us that he "will work to honor this commitment. The greenway is a fantastic amenity, and connecting them is an excellent idea that will encourage tourism." wishes all of the remaining candidates the very best of luck we look forward to their continued support going forward.

Monday, February 22, 2016

FG promise €100m for Wild Atlantic Way, Blueways & Greenways

The current minister of Transport and Tourism, Paschal Donohoe, yesterday promised 100m for the Wild Atlantic way, Blueway and Greenway projects. 

The minister was announcing plans for the tourism sector that is hoped will boost revenues from overseas tourists by €5 billion and will make a significant contribution to regional job creation. The minister says that "we will target increased investment; in areas such new facilities for walking, cycling (greenways) and water based (blueways) activities to take the Wild Atlantic Way to the next level". Fine Gael say that with the right vision, plan and investment a nationwide network of connected Greenways can become a global tourist attraction.

The announcement from Fine Gael comes just after the Taoiseach confirmed funding for Royal Canal walk and cycleway through Longford. According to Shannonside News, the Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue described the shovel-ready Royal Canal cycle and greenway project in the county as “a no brainer” when it comes to funding. Longford Council have impressive plans to further develop the Royal Canal Greenway as a connection to the Dublin Galway Greenway. It is also hoped that the Royal Canal Greenway could be connected to the Mayo Greenway and eventually provide a coast to coast cycleway from Dublin to Mayo. Also, in further related developments, Leitrim Council have started the feasibility planning for greenways that, if linked to the Dublin Galway Greenway via the Longford project, could provide a substantial and significant network of greenways in the midlands and north west.

This website asked all the main candidates in the Longford/Westmeath for their position on the Longford greenway. Gabrielle McFadden (FG) and Robert Troy (FF) were the only candidates to go on record to state their support and Manchan Magan (Greens) has stated support for greenways in his vision statement.

According to Gabrielle McFadden T.D. (FG), "Securing the funding for the completion of the Royal Canal Greenway in Longford will undoubtedly be a massive boost for  the county and, if elected, I will be making strong representations at Cabinet level to get this vital allocation for the project."

And Robert Troy (FF), told us that he "will work to honor this commitment. The greenway is a fantastic amenity, and connecting them is an excellent idea that will encourage tourism."

In his vision statement, Manchan Magan (Greens) says that he supports the development of "cycle and walking tracks and creating small-scale personalised services offering outdoor activities".

It will be interesting to see when Election 2016 is over if the commitment of the parties will be delivered upon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Greenway campaign welcomes cross party and independent’s support for Collooney to Athenry Greenway

The Western Rail Trail Campaign, the campaign group seeking to protect the alignment of the non operational railway line from Collooney in County Sligo to Athenry in county Galway by placing a greenway on the route until such time as a railway is possible, has welcomed  the support of almost every candidate in Sligo Leitrim South Donegal and West Cavan.

Brendan Quinn of the Western Rail Trail campaign said this:

“We contacted all candidates at the start of the campaign by email and asked a simple question : “Do you support current policy as declared by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport to use the asset of the closed railway from Collooney to Athenry as a greenway now to create a local amenity for communities along the route, to create more tourism related  jobs in the West of Ireland, and to protect the route from loss to the State”  We also gave candidates an option to disagree with the statement  or to say they did not want their opinions known.  We have been delighted with the almost unanimous positive response we have received we are now very optimistic we will have cross party support with four TDs who all support the greenway from Collooney to Athenry on the closed railway route.

We very quickly got responses from candidates who support the idea. The most immediate response came from Tony Mcloughlin TD, who has long supported the campaign and from Marie Casserly who has supported the greenway campaign in the council chamber for a long time.  John Perry TD who also supports the campaign was quick to respond saying yes to the greenway.
All candidates are very busy, so we followed up the first email with phone calls, texts and further emails until we got a response.

We are very pleased to be able to inform the voting public that every single candidate bar one has responded to the survey with positive support for the greenway campaign.
The only candidate who has failed to respond is Declan Bree, despite numerous emails and calls to his mobile.  Mr Bree has refused to say if he supports the greenway campaign.

The main party candidates have been totally supportive, with Labour, all three Fianna Fail  and Fine Gael candidates, Renua and the Green Party candidates all sending messages of support as have all the independent candidates with the exception of Mr. Bree.

All candidates have made similar comments, that it now makes common sense to get on with this project that protecting the route is paramount and the rusting old railways have no meaning to be left in place.

Sinn Fein have for the first time openly declared their support for the Collooney to Athenry greenway that would connect the north west to the Dublin-Galway greenway. Chris Macmanus informed the campaign by email that it has his support, and Martin Kenny was interviewed by telephone.  Martin Kenny was particularly supportive of the idea to connect up the proposed Sligo-Leitrim-Cavan greenway with the Collooney to Athenry greenway to give West and North West tourism a boost.  He said when interviewed that “this one is really above party politics it’s all about what is best for the region”

The  Western Rail Trail is delighted the campaign has cross party support, we wish all candidates good luck in their endeavours and will be asking the successful candidates  to pursue the Western Rail Trail project once the election is over.   We hope to have all four TDs in the constituency publically backing the Western Rail Trail from Collooney to Athenry after the election.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 2016 Greenway Update

It has been a relatively quiet month on the Dublin Galway Greenway project. As the controversy over the East Galway route quietens down, focus has shifted to the Kildare and Meath section of the greenway. We can only suspect that the project planners are taking stock after the bruising they received from the landowners in Galway and are now taking some time out to consider the best way forward for the western section of the greenway.

But while the Dublin Galway greenway takes a breather, supporters of national greenway projects were heartened by the following news updates:

Reconciliation Hopes in Sligo Mayo Greenway

The West On Track and the Sligo Greenway groups took some steps towards a reconciliation over the past month. These two groups have been in very different camps about the potential use of the Sligo to Claremorris disused railway. After the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue stated that the actual rail tracks have no value in any future operational railway, it became apparent that the West On Track’s position became redundant on the need to keep the rusting tracks. It has also been reported that there is growing interest abroad (especially from German and the US) in a potential greenway from Sligo to Claremorris.

Kildare gets moving on the Royal Canal Greenway

Kildare County Council has started a public consultation on the Royal Canal Greenway from Maynooth to the Dublin County border just outside Leixlip. This section will be part of the Dublin Galway greenway. However, some cycling interest groups, such as, have commented that the standard of the greenway does not meet international standards as a commuting route for cyclists. Kildare County Council will review all of the submissions and move forward accordingly.

Lovely Leitrim Greenways

According to reports this month, Leitrim County Council will begin its bid to develop two greenway projects in the county this year. This blog also reported on this news and the potential connections of Leitrim’s greenways into a large network of greenways with connection to the Dublin Galway Greenway.

Ulster Canal may get it’s own Greenway

Waterways Ireland is exploring the potential of a greenway on the planned Ulster Canal. Given the success of other greenways along the canals it would seem an obvious move. An invitation to tender for Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Ulster Canal Greenway Strategy has been placed on the online. ​The tender can be viewed here and comments are open until the 27th January 2016

Dodder Valley Greenway

As part of a 40M funding announcement by the government about gateway and hub towns, it was revealed that almost 1.5M will be allocated to Dodder Valley Greenway (South Dublin Co. Co.) to complete 2 phases of the scheme to install & extend cycle and pedestrian routes. The Irishtimes reported, however, that opinion is divided on the project and that some people fear the project will see the Dodder Valley developed into a cycling superhighway.

Athlone to Mullingar Cycleway goes from strength to strength

Following the successful opening of the Athlone to Mullingar greenway by the Taoiseach in October, the greenway is getting significant interest with numbers of cyclists growing rapidly. As predicted with these type of projects, tourism related business opportunities follow and we are glad to see many new bike hire companies in Athlone and Mullingar have opened.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Leitrims Greenway plans could link with the Dublin Galway Greenway

According to reports from the Shannonside newsroom, Leitrim county council is seeking funds to develop two new greenway routes that could link with the Dublin Galway Greenway.

CEO of Leitrim County Council Frank Curran says the council will apply for seven million euro to construct a cycling track between Manorhamilton to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh along the disused railway track. The council will also look to progress a greenway between Dromod in South Leitrim that will connect to Belturbet in County Cavan.

These ambitious projects will help build Leitrim's growing reputation as a outdoor activity destination and fits alongside projects such as the successful Shannon Blueway canoe and walking trails. The success of the Mayo greenway has encouraged more councils to look to build greenways in their own county and when joined together and promoted internationally could attract millions of tourists to parts of Ireland that have traditional been bypassed by tourists.

Plans by Longford county council to develop the Royal Canal greenway as far as Clondra could prove to be a very wise move as it could provide a connection between the Dublin Galway greenway to this network and provide a gateway to north west greenways in Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo.

Further information on the Dromod to Belturbet greenway is available on the canalgreenway website. And a full proposal for the Manorhamilton to Enniskillen greenway is available for the government backed smartertravel website.