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Government to fully fund greenway projects due to COVID-19 hit to councils

Government funding of €63.5 million is to go to greenway projects across Ireland, with the Government waiving the normal requirement for councils or other State bodies to part-fund the projects.

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A statement from the Department of Transport said that it was funding projects to 60% pre COVID-19, with match funding expected from councils. But it said: “In recognition of the negative impact COVID-19 has had on local authorities, funding will now be provided at a rate of 100%.”

An overview of funding is provided in the table below.

Transport minister Eamon Ryan said: “I am delighted to be able to confirm that the allocation of €63.5m to Greenways for 2021 is the highest single year amount ever allocated to Greenways. Indeed, it nearly equals the total amount originally allocated for the 4 years 2018-2021 (€53m) and shows the commitment of this Government to providing a step-change in the way in which we fund walking and cycling.”

He said: “I’m pleased to announce that we will contribute a significant amount to the Great Southern Greenway in Limerick to support the work of the council in bringing the Greenway up to a modern standard. This will ensure that cyclists will have a quality experience all the way from Rathkeale, Co Limerick to Listowel, Co Kerry. This funding will also support the refurbishment of the Longford Canal with improved infrastructure being provided along this cycleway.”

“In County Offaly we are funding the extension of the Grand Canal Greenway from Daingean to Edenderry, meaning that by the end of next year it will be possible to cycle the Greenway the whole way from Edenderry to Lough Boora, over 50km worth of cycleway. This funding will also be used for refurbishment of the Longford Canal with improved infrastructure being provided along this cycleway,” Minister Ryan said.

He added: “We will also support the refurbishment of the disused New Ross to Waterford Railway as part of the Greenway connecting New Ross to Waterford City which incorporates the Kilkenny Greenway. This cycleway will ultimately form part of an extensive cycling and walking network across the South East region and provide an environmentally friendly alternative for commuters into Waterford and New Ross.”

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said: “The allocations of €63.5 million being made today will go a long way in delivering a safe and sustainable environment for active travel in our villages, towns and cities. We are funding the construction of a Greenway bridge across the River Shannon in Athlone as part of the Galway to Dublin Greenway. This investment will support even greater numbers enjoying our outdoors by cycling and walking for school, work and leisure.”

She said: “We are also supporting the roll-out of a new Safe Routes to School Initiative. This programme will seek to accelerate the delivery of improved walking and cycling infrastructure to schools; enhance sustainable access onto school grounds; and expand the amount of cycle parking available at schools. Underpinning this new initiative, we will see almost €1 million per day spent on our walking and cycling infrastructure in the year 2021.”

Minister Naughton added: “2021 is only the start, we will continue to build on this level of investment over the coming years.”

MAIN IMAGE: Disused Red Bridge, a railway bridge which will be refurbished as part of works along the New Ross to Waterford Greenway. IMAGE INSERT: Ongoing construction along the Great Southern Greenway, Limerick. Both images provided by the Department of Transport.

Breakdown of funding:

Projects and project promoters. Total
Cork, Midleton-Youghal €10,000,000
Galway, Clifden- Recess €3,350,000
Kildare, Grand Canal Aylmer Bridge to Sallins €2,930,000
Kerry, Tralee Fenit €3,440,000
Kerry, Listowel to Tralee €4,540,000
Mayo, Great Western Way expansion €5,150,000
Offaly, Grand Canal  Daingean to Lough Boora €1,660,000
Wexford, Waterford- New Ross €9,000,000
Wicklow, Blessington Loop €6,400,000
TII , Galway- Athlone €8,100,000
South Kerry Greenway €1,400,000
Galway Moycullen €1,800,000
Offaly, Daingean to Edenderry €3,100,000
Limerick, refurbishment of Great Southern Greenway €2,500,000
Longford Canal Greenway €172,000
Totals for all projects for 2021 €63,542,000*

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Editor, IrishCycle.com

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