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:
Subscription drive update: IrishCycle.com reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October).
If you can help push IrishCycle.com above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!
Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.
IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.
There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!
Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.
I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.
The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!
But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers