The Naas Cycling Campaign is seeking a meeting with transport Minister Eamon Ryan over the removal of a project in Naas from the Pathfinder programme after it was established that Kildare County Council were unlikely to be able to meet the 2025 deadline for the delivery of such projects.
In a letter to Minister Ryan the group yesterday said that they “wish to express our deep disappointment and frustration at the news that you have decided to revoke the funding for the Naas Mobility Network Integration Pathfinder Project.”
But as covered by this website yesterday evening, while it was reported that €20million in funding for the Pathfinder project In Naas was “withdrawn” by Minister Ryan, the Department of Transport told IrishCycle.com yesterday that the Pathfinder programme is not a source of funding.
As also reported yesterday, what the Department said tallies with what was said by the Department when the Pathfinder projects were announced in October 2022 with the Pathfinder programme described as “not a new funding stream” but rather “an initiative aimed at ensuring the projects selected are provided the impetus to deliver quickly and demonstrate what can be achieved with the right level of ambition and innovation.”
The Department however added that Pathfinder status gives priority weighting to projects when it comes to funding from different sources.
In its letter to the Minister, Naas Cycling Campaign said: “The proposed improvements and restructure to Main Street, at the heart of the Naas Mobility Network Integration, are crucial to reducing car dependency in the town, supporting business, and to ensuring Naas can advance and grow in a sustained way, that prioritises the health, safety and well-being of our citizens.”
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“While we understand, and indeed share, your frustration with the speed of delivery of this project, we also believe it is incumbent on all stakeholders, at national and local level, to work together to ensure this project is pursued to completion. Kildare County Council put forward this project as it is uniquely placed to connect residences, schools, retail and medical facilities and existing public transport – exactly the type of exemplar
project your Department sought. Revoking funding at this stage is an incredibly retrograde step for delivering infrastructure that is deserved by the large and growing population of Naas and its surrounds,” the group said.
The group added: “While we acknowledge that the delivery of this project has been slower than any of us would desire, there is visible progress, and the suggestion that the project would not go to Part 8, until Q3 next year rather than Q1 or Q2, seems incredibly weak grounds on which to jettison such a crucial project.”