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.”