An old national road route, the former N6 road, is not a suitable location for an international greenway and it would make the country a “laughing stock”, the Galway Cycling Campaign has said. It said that funding should go elsewhere rather than it being used on the wrong route.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have continually suggested that the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the National Roads Association) should reroute the greenway to use the old N6 road.
In a statement, the Galway Cycling Campaign said: “[the campaign] has called on the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to reject IFA proposals to put a local section of an international greenway beside the old N6. Controversy has erupted about the routing of the Galway section of the Eurovelo 2 cycling route. The route is meant to start in Galway and end in Moscow and much of the mainland sections are already in place. Conflict has arisen between the IFA and the NRA who have proposed to CPO farmers’ land to construct the route.”
The campaign also claimed that that both Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland “seem to have ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms”.
Opposing farmers’ claims that the cycling and walking route is not strategic, the campaign said: “A reality check is needed. The Greenway represents strategic international infrastructure and, if implemented correctly, could open up a huge new tourism product for East Galway. Elsewhere in Europe cycling tourism is big business. Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at 1.7 million [people].”
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It added: “Between the towns of Gort, Loughrea and Ballinasloe there are currently over 5000 people on the live register. Retail in Ballinasloe has been decimated. The cycling route represents an enormous opportunity for communities along its path – including the farming community. By pushing a ‘solution’ that would destroy the essential nature of the greenway, the IFA are open to the accusation that they are sabotaging economic recovery for local communities and towns in East Galway.”
IMAGE: Part of the Great Western Greenway near Castlebar in Co Mayo
CORRECTION: The above article orignaly included the following as part of a quote: “…In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million.” The inclusion of a euro symbol was a sub-editing mistake which was included in a statement from the Galway Cycling Campaign, at their request it has now been corrected to remove mention of monetary amounts.