Building the planned Dublin-Galway Greenway and the suggested Galway-Mayo-Sligo greenway would be of “huge benefit to Galway”, but their planning must proceed sensitively, Senator Lorraine Higgins told IrishCycle.com yeasterday.
Most Galway politicians who have spoken out on the issue recently have more clearly sided with farmers’ groups who are against the Dublin-Galway route from using current farmland.
The Labour Senator’ comments comes after a press release she released earlier in the week highlighting how she is seeking a meeting between the Minister for Transport and pro-greenway groups from Tuam, Mayo and Sligo.
She told this website that these groups include the Sligo-Mayo Greenway group, the Tuam greenway group and the Athenry greenway supporters. These are mainly campaigning for sections of the Western Railway Corridor between Galway and Sligo to be used as a greenway. Although the railway is disused, all of the route is in public ownership, but support to turn this route into a greenway is currently limited among State bodies. Other groups are seeking the railway reopened.
The meeting with pro-greenway groups follows from a meeting she was involved in between the minister and farms reps, who are opposed to the routing of the Dublin-Galway Greenway and the use of CPOs.
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When asked by IrishCycle.com of her support for the Dublin-Galway Greenway, the Senator said: “Given the growth in cycling I believe it would be of huge benefit to Galway and would hope to see a route from Dublin coming through our areas but it is imperative that this be sensitively done taking into consideration the views and opinions of the local communities on the route. I understand this process is ongoing, having met the Minister for Transport last week with a number of farmers reps.”
The Dublin to Galway route follows a mix of the Royal Canal and a disused railway from Dublin to Athlone in the midlands. However, between Athlone and Galway there is no natural path in public ownership suitable to a greenway. Farming groups have suggested routing the greenway along the old main Dublin to Galway road (which has been superseded by a motorway), but this busy route would be unattractive for tourists and prove difficult with many junctions and driveways.
Earlier this week, referring to the Galway-Mayo-Sligo route, Senator Higgins said: “Rural communities along the proposed greenway route stand to benefit greatly from this project’s development. A key feature of such development must be the prioritization of the concerns of the communities along the route and the maximization of economic benefits.
She added: “To this end, I have written to the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe TD requesting that he meet with representatives from the Tuam, Sligo and Mayo greenway groups. I feel such a meeting would commence a valuable dialogue among concerned parties to the benefit of the project and the communities involved. I look forward to the Minister’s engagement with this matter and the development of the greenway route along the disused rail corridor extending from Sligo in the north to Athenry in the South in the coming years.”