Alternative greenway route would link historical sites across east of county

Minister Sean Canney at a section of the Clare River near Tuam where it is proposed to locate a walking and cycling greenway. Photo: Johnny Ryan Photography.

An ambitious plan involving the provision of over 150 miles of greenway across the whole of East Galway has the potential to generate millions of euros for the region as well as creating hundreds of new jobs.

The proposal – the culmination of 18 months of research – has already been welcomed by Transport Minister Shane Ross, with the next step likely to see it as the subject of a discussion workshop involving all relevant stakeholders.

The plan envisages that the greenway routes from Ballinasloe to Galway city with spurs to North Galway will mainly be provided along rivers and State-owned lands – and, more importantly, will not be impacting on farmers’ holdings…unlike the controversial N6 route which has run up a blind alley on the back of opposition from affected landowners.

This proposed route would bring tourists to some of the most historic locations in East and North Galway which would have the potential to create significant employment as well as generating a huge spend in the area.

It has been devised by former senior roads engineer with Galway County Council, Martin Lavelle, who has already presented it to the Transport Minister and said that it was well received. It has also received the thumbs-up from County Galway IFA.

Galway Minister for the OPW Deputy Sean Canney is supportive of the proposal and said that it would avoid any contentious situations when it comes to acquiring lands for the suggested routes. “It is definitely worth considering”, he added.

There was uproar among the farming community when it was originally proposed to bring a greenway from Ballinasloe to Galway through farmland, dissecting farm holdings along the way. This proposal was eventually shelved following major opposition from farmers and the IFA.

But the latest proposal would involve an alternative route taking in historical sites in the likes of Clonmacnoise, Clonfert and Aughrim along State owned lands and continuing along that vein towards Craughwell and Oranmore before arriving in the city.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.