Waterford Greenway Delegation show how it can be done
The Connemara Greenway Alliance invited a delegation from the successful Waterford Greenway campaign group to meet with Galway County and City Councillors and Officials last week and push forward the completion of the Connemara Greenway from Galway City to Clifden by 2020.
In 2014, €2 million in funding was secured for the Moycullen section of the Connemara Greenway, with the Waterford and Kerry greenways also securing funding from the Department of Transport. Of the three, the Waterford Greenway is the only greenway completed to date, officially opening in March this year. According to Garvan Cummins of the Deise Greenway Group: ‘’ This has been a game changer for the people that live along the route. Neighbours that usually only pass each other in their cars are stopping to talk to each other on the Greenway. People who have not cycled in 60 years are now cycling again. Teenagers actually think it’s cool to cycle along the Greenway!’’
‘’Taking one area as an example. Nothing short of an economic miracle has happened in the town of Kilmacthomas. Before the Greenway, it was very depressed with many closed shops. One new cafe that has opened up due to the Greenway is now employing 7 full time and 7 part time staff and has 3,000 customers a week coming through their doors. There are now plans for another 7 cafes in this area. Over 10,000 people used the Greenway on Easter Sunday past alone, and the town has been completely reinvigorated.’’
Asked about redirecting the route from the old railway line, Mr. Cummins had this to say:’’ The Greenway is for 1 to 101 year olds. You need to accommodate all skill levels and ages and people with disabilities, hence keeping to the easy gradient of the railway line is essential.’’
Like in Galway, in Waterford there were some objections to the greenway from landowners living along the route. Most landowners and their families are now using the Greenway daily. House prices along the route have also increased as it is deemed a very attractive place to live.
Work is progressing well on a 6km stretch of the Connemara Greenway in Ballinahinch. The Connemara Greenway Alliance is calling for the completion of the Connemara Greenway in time for the European Capital of Culture 2020.
The group is made up of the Moycullen Community Development Association, Connemara Chamber of Commerce, Galway Chamber of Commerce, HSE Healthy Cities, Galway’s West End, The Latin Quarter, the MaumTurk walking club, local businesses, community groups, families and landowners living along the route.
If you would like to support the campaign as a business email [email protected] saying ‘we support the Connemara Greenway’; and as an individual sign a petition of support on www.change.org – just search for Connemara Greenway.