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.

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