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.