Minister Ross announces funding for Greenway projects in Longford & Westmeath
Published: 1st July 2016
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Mr. Shane Ross T.D. today announced the award of funding for greenway projects in Kildare, Meath, Longford and Westmeath.
Speaking today the Minister said: “Since my appointment as Minister, I have been particularly struck by the far-reaching benefits that greenways can bring to the localities in which they are situated as is evidenced by the success of the Great Western Greenway and other projects around the country. These benefits are not just confined to the economic realm from jobs created and sustained through the construction of the greenways to the spend on food, drink and accommodation by those using the greenways. They also extend to the health benefits, both physical and mental, of cycling and walking and to the environmental benefits from a reduction in emissions.”
It has recently been brought to my attention that some funding awarded to projects under the National Cycle Network funding call of 2014 would not be fully drawn down in 2016. I have been examining a number of other ‘shovel-ready’ projects that would be in a position to utilise this funding in 2016 and am pleased to now announce funding for three projects in four counties that have planning permission in place. I am confident that the projects in Longford and Westmeath will be finished by the end of this year whilst the project in Kildare and Meath will be finished by the end of 2017. These projects build on the great success of the Old Rail Trail between Athlone and Mullingar and will provide the country with a long distance, multi-day, off-road cycling route that I’m sure will prove to be a great attraction for tourists, both foreign and local, and indeed anyone looking for a wonderful day out.”
The Minister continued: “Funding the Kildare and Meath sections of the Galway to Dublin Greenway shows my Department’s commitment to the medium-term goal of completing this coast to coast greenway. Whilst I understand the concerns raised regarding the preferred route in Galway that led to the pausing of the planning for the route west of the Shannon, the time is now right to continue construction of this project east of the Shannon and ensure that progress is maintained.
“I look forward to the further roll-out of Greenway projects in the coming years as they provide so many benefits that meet the goals of this partnership Government most notably rural re-generation, job creation and tourism development”, the Minister concluded.
Greenway projects to be funded in 2016
Local Authority Project Funding
Kildare/Meath Maynooth -Westmeath Co. Border - 38km (part of the Dublin to Galway Greenway) €2,533,000
Longford Abbeyshrule to Longford Bridge, Ballymahon - 15.2km extension to Mullingar to Abbeyshrule Greenway €513,000
Westmeath Garrycastle to White Gates - 2.2km extension to the Mullingar to Athlone Greenway €496,187