A Green Party councillor has said that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is “pandering to NIMBYs” opposing Fingal County Council’s plans for the Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin 15.
Varadkar is supporting objectors to the northbank route proposed by the council for the Deep Sinking section of the route, which runs from around Castleknock train station to the Porterstown area.
The southbank option for problematic Deep Sinking section of greenway more expensive, destructive, technically difficult and likely to cause further delay. It would need long lengths of boardwalk, near-total removal of greenery and is very close to the Maynooth railway line.
In 2012, while he was Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Varadkar called for the greenway to be built as part of the proposed cross-country Dublin to Galway Greenway. In 2014, he said the much delayed route could be finished in five years. Now seven years later Varadkar is objecting to a key section of the route.
The Sunday Business Post reported today that Leo Varadkar is opposing a new plan by his local council to build the “missing piece” of the Dublin to Galway greenway in his own constituency.
The Dublin to Galway Greenway has also faced delays west of Athlone with landowners objecting, but the Deep Sinking section is seen as the last section of the route which will be built east of the River Shannon.
The Dublin to Galway route is mostly upgraded between Maynooth and Athlone, with the Royal Canal Greenway also continuing onto Longford and Cloondara. Construction is due to start of the remaining Dublin City Council sections of the Royal Canal route.
The newspaper said that junior Minister Jack Chambers (FF) shares the views of Varadkar, while Minister Roderic O’Gorman (Green) said he supports the council’s route and a local opposition party TD, Paul Donnelly (Sinn Féin) is undecided.
DLRCC-based Green Party Cllr Oisín O’Connor said: “Not surprising. For years he’s been the driving force behind opposing the completion of this important commuter route. Pandering to NIMBYs rather then providing real leadership”
He added: “Imagine calling for a Dublin-Galway Greenway (though not his original idea) and then also be the one to hold up the last section because of a devoutness to local populism and NIMBYism? Letting ideology get in the way of critical infrastructure.”
Fingal Cycling — a branch of the Dublin Cycling Campaign — said: “Disappointing to read that the @LeoVaradkar and @jackfchambers are opposing the preferred option by @Fingalcoco. This section of the Royal Canal has been delayed for many years now.”
The Dublin Galway Greenway @dublingalwaygw twitter account, run by campaigners for the greenway, said: “Disappointing to see this. Dublin 15 deserves better. Ground investigation has ruled out the southbank. This approach effectively means no Greenway.”