Funding in the region of €12 to €14 million is expected to be soon officially confirmed for the Wee Greenway, linking parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together with safe and attractive routes for cycling and walking.
Local groups welcomed the news saying it was an “unbelievable decision” to fund the greenway.
IrishCycle.com understands that the funding — which is expected to be confirmed officially by the end of this month — will include two sections of the greenway starting in Derry in Northern Ireland and linking to Buncrana and Muff in the Republic.
The greenway sections would total just over 30km with an 11km Derry to Muff section and a 21km Derry to Buncrana. A separate cross border greenway is expected to be funded, linking the short distance between Strabane Tyrone and Lifford in Donegal.
The main source of funding for the route is Interreg, which derives from the European Regional Development Fund. The fund aims for “integrated and sustainable impact for people and place.”
Local funding will also need to be secured, although it’s understood that the EU funds in question generally contribute a high percentage of funding for projects.
The news was first broke by local radio station, Highland Radio — it’s news which local groups, the Wee Greenway Initiative and Cycle Inishowen, said, if correct, will have an “unbelievable affect on the Derry/Inishowen area.”
Ronan Gallagher, co-founder of the Wee Greenway Initiative said: “If Highland Radio’s report is correct, the linking of Derry to Muff and to Buncrana will be the beginning of a journey that will help develop a fantastic piece of infrastructure, not just for the local population, but also for tourists. Statistics show that if you create a segregated cycle route and walkway, people of all ages will use it.”
He added: “This funding should be seen as the first step to delivering what we’ve been calling the Wee Greenway project. The legacy to Derry and Inishowen — in improved health and economic opportunities — will simply be immense.”
He said that the Wee Greenway Initiative has also worked with Donegal County Council to produce a report on the viability of the Wee route between Buncrana and Carndonagh, and they hope that the report will be published on September 28.
IMAGE: Thanks to Ronan Gallagher
Here’s the fully route, which local groups hope to eventually get built: