Minister cautions "Field of Dreams" approach to Greenways
The latest comments from the Minister of Transport and Tourism Paschal Donohoe provide some insight into the new ministers view of national greenways. While his comments will be welcome be some it may disappoint many looking for a coordinated strategic plan from central government on a connected set of greenways in Ireland.
The minister appears to be opening up a debate on whether there should be dedicated funding streams for greenways regardless of their viability. He seems to believe that there is an expectation building that his department will be funding greenways in every "highway and byway" in Ireland. According to Ministor Donohoe, the government has awarded €6.3m under the National Cycle Network Funding Programme 2014-2016 to three local authorities for the delivery of greenways following a competitive process. However, he appears to throw cold water on other schemes that may not be viable and cautions local communities and local authorities on a "Field of Dreams" approach to building greenways.
The minister and called on local communities and interest groups to work hard now to develop strategies and prepare business cases will be best placed to avail of that funding.