Green Party slated for opposition to Midleton to Youghal Greenway

A local area Labour Party representative in Cork has criticised the Green Party for opposing the Midleton to Youghal Greenway on the former railway route between the two towns.

Cork County Council said this week that the 23km walking and cycling route would have a sealed surface path with a desirable maximum width of 4 metres and a general minimum width of 3 metres.

The project’s consultation page states that public submissions on the project are due before October 30.

“Green party opposing Greenway. Poor logic here. We would all love to see the railway returned but the reality is that there is no prospect of that happening in the short or medium term,” said Eric Nolan, a Labour Party representative.

“Do we turn down millions in funding for a fantastic amenity for us all as well as a huge tourist attraction in the hope that a railway may be returned at some future date?”

He added: “The fact that the proposed Greenway will remain on the ownership of CIE as well as the plans to keep land etc means that this Greenway shouldn’t reduce the chances of a rail returning anyway. This is a nonsense argument from the Green Party and all it can possible achieve is putting the Greenway project in jeopardy.”

He was responding to comments made by Green Party representative for East Cork, Liam Quaide which were published in the Evening Echo newspaper.

Quaide said: “If we tarmac over the railway tracks, we will be cutting off Youghal from a key infrastructural link with Cork city indefinitely.

He said: “We would stand no realistic chance of ever re-opening the line. Commuting times on the N25 are getting longer and longer all the time. Traffic congestion is a serious quality of life issue for thousands of people in east Cork. This is only going to get worse as our population grows. A train service from Youghal should link up with a light rail system in Cork city as part of an integrated transport network.”

In a Twitter conversation between the two reps, Quaide said: “It’ll never happen if the line is converted into a greenway. The logic of this is you can have something very beneficial provided you indefinitely give up something essential.”

Nolan replied: “According to the planning documents the greenway will not stop a possible future rail line. The works are specifically designed to prevent this… also speaks about clearance zones being maintained to future proof for rail line. It also says that rail equipment removed would have to be removed anyway. I’m out and about so don’t have access to doc to quote exact wording.”

8 Comments

  1. “If we tarmac over the railway tracks…” But the tracks are already gone or completely unusable, right? This isn’t like the Rosslare to Waterford line which has a perfectly maintained, but disused line. Building a railway over a Greenway will surely be no more difficult than building a railway over an unusable railway.

  2. Whatever the merits of this as a viable railway line, if you build a greenway there is no hope in hell of ever getting a railway built.

    That might be a good or a bad thing, but to pretend that people would be okay with a built greenway being removed to facilitate a railway line is to ignore the reality of irish politics.

  3. Work on restoring the Midleton Youghal train line, makes more sense

  4. The reality of Irish politics is that people don’t give a damn about cycling. Unfortunately for people who want the train line kept open they also don’t give a damn about trains.

    It is unlikely, although completely possible, say if they needed a space for a motorway, that the green way would be closed in the future. However that shouldn’t be needed. The train line can be reopened with the green way relocated to one side.

    It seems pretty clear that nobody plans to reopen the train line in the foreseeable future so leaving it unused, and possibly vulnerable to land grabs by adjacent land owners (who will subsequently cry blue murder when you try to take it back from them) is not a good idea.

  5. Its pretty hard to understand how there would be a business case to rebuild a railway line from Midleton to Youghal when Youghal has a population of only 8000 and only 4400 of those commute to work or school, and some of that 4400 are children going to school in Youghal, or people working in Youghal or places not served by the trainline.

    it is extremely unlikely that there will be a railway east to Dungarvan or Waterford, and as BÉ will be running busses along the road, anyway, some percentage of the population who commute will be using the bus.

    So you’re looking at opening 23km of railway for about 2000 people who commute to Cork, and a significant amount of them will drive and never use public transport anyway.

    vs using an existing amenity for the general benefit of the people living in the area and tourists.

  6. Greenway is a ‘no-brainer’, even if only in the sense of preserving a possible future rail link, and stopping egress on to a public space! Numbers do not seen to stack up for the Railway right now!

  7. Greens totally right on this one. And fair play to them for calling it for what it is. Takes guts.

    Once a greenway is in there’s no way the railway will ever opened again. Labour are either in on the game to close the railway (doubtful) or totally naive (more likely).

    Passing off greenways like this instead of investing in cycling AND public transport is so cynical. Allocate for cycling! Don’t make it an either-or choice between public transport or cycling.

  8. @Philip,
    the 6th to 13th words of your second paragraph are true, whether the greenway is built or not.

    As there is no foreseeable railway expansion to the east, busses will be running from Cork to Waterford, passing Youghal even if the railway is built.

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