Friday 30 October 2015
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has decided to pause further development on the Galway and Roscommon section of the Galway to Dublin Greenway to allow time for all involved to reflect on the issues that have been raised locally about the project. Minister Donohoe and his Department will now focus on completing the section of the Greenway from Maynooth to Westmeath through counties Kildare and Meath, which has planning permission in place and is ready for development.
This decision was made following receipt by Minister Donohoe of a report by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) which consulted with landowners along the preferred Galway/Roscommon section of the route to determine their views on, and willingness to progress, the project (report herehttp://www.dttas.ie/sites/all/modules/extlink/extlink_s.png
Due to funding limitations and eagerness by Government to deliver the Dublin to Galway Greenway, a decision has been made to pause the Galway/Roscommon segment of the route and to progress the Kildare/Meath section, which is shovel ready, instead.
“Having received the landowner consultation report from TII, it is clear that there are significant concerns among communities in Galway and Roscommon, along the preferred route, about the impact the Greenway will have on them. Having discussed the report with my Departmental officials and with Oireachtas colleagues, I have decided to pause further development on this part of the Greenway to allow time for all to reflect on the issues raised and to give consideration to the possibility of developing a new route that works locally and has the support of key landowners.
“The goal of an iconic cross-country Greenway from Dublin to Galway remains a priority for this Government, however we will now focus on completing the Greenway from Maynooth to Westmeath, with a view to having that section completed in 2017. Funds are limited in respect of Greenways, as they are in all areas, so I have come to the decision, in the interest of delivering not just the Dublin to Galway Greenway but Greenways throughout the country, to progress only those projects that have been properly assessed and approved and that have planning permission in place and are ready to go.
“The success of the sections of the Greenway that have been opened to date demonstrates the benefits to local communities in the form of increased tourism and easy access to outdoor local activities. The most recent part of the Greenway to be opened was the Mullingar to Athlone section in recent weeks, which has been warmly welcomed and which is already acknowledged to be a great addition to the area.
“I am fully supportive of the recommendations contained within the TII report, which include:
· Retaining the objective to link Dublin and Galway cities;
· Retaining the objective to go ‘coast to coast’;
· Retaining the objective to deliver an off-road cycling experience;
· Reconsidering the route through Roscommon and Galway to ensure that the concerns of individual landowners are addressed to the maximum possible extent;
· Mitigating the impact of the cycleway on landowners to the maximum possible extent;
· Engaging with farming representative organisations at national level to agree a fair and acceptable compensation framework and at local level to give confidence that farmers’ concerns are being addressed;
· Where land is acquired or farmers are injuriously affected by the cycleway, ensuring that a fair compensation package is made available to them;
· Continuing to progress the other parts of the project.
“This Government is committed to providing a world-class Greenway that will attract touring cyclists to Ireland who might not otherwise come here. Research has shown that there are hundreds of thousands of tourists who wish to go on cycling holidays who will chose other countries over Ireland if we do not provide an offering with off-road, scenic routes. Easy access to facilities for eating, drinking and accommodation must also be provided.
“In a broader context, work is on-going, as part of the National Cycle Policy Framework (2009-2020) review, to further develop a comprehensive approach to the building of new Greenways to ensure they tie in with existing cycling and tourism policies. My Department continues to work with other Departments and agencies to ensure that access to public lands and waters forms a key component of that work.
“I would like to thank the officials in TII and the Local Authorities who consulted with the landowners in the Galway and Roscommon area to determine their views. I hope the findings of this report will encourage all involved to work together to resolve outstanding issues and I look forward to progress being made on this project in the future.”