Leo Varadkar is “pandering to NIMBYs” blocking cross-country greenway

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.”

10 comments

  1. It would be good to know how best we can send in our views, and who to direct them to please….is it local councillors and T D’s as well….As we live in Co Cork, any info you have will help us to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard…Cheers Annie and Ed Quinn..

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  2. Sorry but the Greens don’t have a great record on the greenway through the Deep Sinking. After the original study in 2012 by Atkins Roderic O’Gorman opposed the building in the Deep Sinking section and made this Green Party policy. Admittedly this was done on environmental grounds but the result is the same, no greenway. As recently as the 2019 consultation only one public representative, as far as I can recall, supported the North Bank route and he wasn’t from the Green Party.
    So after 9 years and 3 reports we are still no nearer to opening this much needed piece of infrastructure because our public representatives are more interested in placating a handful of NIMBY’s than providing for the public good.

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  3. @Declan
    Previous objections were justified to some degree. There was a valid argument for preserving the Royal Canal as one of the few intact natural areas remaining amidst the agricultural deserts around the city, but there has been some progress in promoting pollination and sustainable land use elsewhere, so that value is now outweighed by the imperative for a sustainable transport route from North Kildare and D15. When the facts change, politicians should be allowed to change their minds.

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  4. It is a disgrace that this charade is still going on so many years after it was initially proposed. If we can’t build a badly needed sustainable transport route on fully publicly owned land along a heavily populated population corridor then there is no hope for us.

    Drawing 22 indicates that a bridge to the South Bank is still envisaged as part of this scheme, so I can’t see on what basis any objections can realistically be lodged. If Varadkar et al are objecting to this once again shows up the craven hypocrisy of the the FG position on green issues. SF’s usual fence-sitting is little better.

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  5. @aka Agreed everybody has the right to change their mind. Unfortunately I am still waiting for our local politicians to do so.After the 2019 consultation the vast majority of them supported the objectors, including the representative of the party I would normally support. Hopefully after this consultation some will come out in favour of the proposed route.

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  6. @Declan
    Most of them already know which way the wind is blowing and watching to see which way this goes (viz SF). A clear majority in favour of proceeding with the proposed route should finally end the debate this time around. This is what has ultimately happened elsewhere. The occupants of one road should not be allowed to hold up a badly needed project like this to the detriment of the entire area and surroundings; not to mention the tourist potential in the long run.

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  7. What can be done to assuage the resident’s concerns? On the Waterford Greenway for eg there is high wooden solid fencing obscuring the view from the Greenway of some back gardens, but that is on a rural route. Presumably those residents had similar concerns re privacy. What about lighting? Would that help?

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