Galway politicians move further against cross-country greenway despite risk to project

Another politician in County Galway has moved against the current route of the Dublin to Galway Greenway west of Athlone, despite a growing risk that the route west of Athlone could be in doubt because of objections from farmers and politicians supporting them.

The following was inserted into the record of the upper house by Cathaoirleach of Seanad Senate, Paddy Burke, this week: “Senator Lorraine Higgins of the following matter: The need for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to consider abandoning the existing greenway route from Ballinasloe to Galway in the absence of full agreement from landowners on the route.”

Farmers have opposed the route and the use of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) claiming the route would split farms and that CPOs are not suitable for cycle routes as they are not “strategic infrastructure”.

The online record of the Seanad currently does not show a discussion on this matter having taken place this week.

The call by Senator Lorraine Higgins (Labour) to abandon the route follows a statement by TD Ciaran Cannon (FG) who said that the proposed greenway route is now “completely unviable” due to the level of opposition.

Other areas in the country are desperately looking for greenway funding and from the department it seems that there is a risk that no route will go ahead, but the Galway politicians seem to be oblivious to the risk of a full abandoning of the Ballinasloe to Galway section of the route.

As we reported last month, the transport minister Paschal Donohoe said in a written parliamentary reply stating that once he gets a report he “will ascertain if there is indeed potential for developing the remainder of the greenway to Galway” — a phrase which is the clearest sign from the department that the greenway is in doubt.

TD Denis Naughten, an independent TD for Roscommon-South Leitrim, spoke in the Dail warning that a full scrapping of the route was “being given consideration at the moment in some corridors”. He said: “…we need to go back and look at how we map it out. Rather than looking at scrapping that particular route – I know that is being given consideration at the moment in some corridors.”

One of the possible solutions being looked at is the use of quiet back roads, but it’s unclear how successful this type of route could be across a full county.

3 Comments

  1. All quite depressing and another nail in the original route concept. So farmers will accept CPOs for strategic infrastructure like rail lines, motorways and gas pipelines but balk at the least land-disturbing strategic infrastructure construction – a lowly cycle path! No traffic noise or pollution associated with it at all. I don’t get it.
    How come we are not looking at an alignment beside the existing rail line from Athlone to Galway. That’s the way its done in many States in USA.

  2. I wonder if other destinations in the West have been examined. If it is not possible to agree a route to Galway, we should look at a route to Mayo, connecting with the Great Western Greenway. After all, Mayo has led the way for greenways in Ireland. Perhaps the people and landowners of Rocommon and Mayo would be more open to such a plan. When the benefits become apparent, maybe then it would be possible to agree a route to Galway. Although it might be too late then. This is the risk you take if you’re not prepared to do something new.

    If there is insufficient political will in Galway, the greenway won’t happen. For that to change, the voters of Galway need to be convinced of the benefits. That seems to be waning at the moment, hopefully we can stem that tide.

  3. I wonder is it the low amount of money the cpo will pay – if the greenway is only 3m wide, its a lot less landtake than the 30m for a motorway. Also it’s easier to route a cysle route away from any residential land take and there’s much less disturbance money…

    There are no CPO’s for gas pipes, they are easements and are buried, so you get your land back and very little land was RailwayOrdered the wrc was existing line and most of the trams in Dublin apart from some in Baleally.

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