Ministers to hear case for Galway waterways rejuvenation

Galway City Tribune – Progress on a community campaign for a massive rejuvenation of Galway’s canal network is gaining momentum, with a meeting planned today with the two key ministers responsible for funding and seed money promised by the 2020 organisers.

Phil James, head of the Galway Waterways Initiative, will hold talks with the Minister for Transport and Tourism Shane Ross and Junior Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran in a meeting arranged by fellow Independent Noel Grealish.

Mr James said he will press the need to open up links with senior staff in the OPW and aim to secure backing for the creation of a long-term masterplan for the waterways.

The campaign group’s wish list includes restoring canals so that vessels can navigate along the Eglinton Canal from Lough Corrib to Galway Bay, building a walkway over the old railroad pillars on the weir connecting the city to the proposed Connemara greenway, and the creation of a ‘blueway’ linking the Galway canals to the Ballyquirke canal network in Moycullen.

A meeting with Galway 2020 CEO Hannah Kiely elicited a commitment to give seed money of €10,000 to tease out plans to stage a programme of events during Galway’s Capital of Culture year.

Events earmarked include water and light displays, a hydro-energy conference and the first hydro-energy installation, kayaking, canoeing and diving regattas, a design competition for the weir walkway, setting up a virtual “museum of the waterways”, with a plan for an actual museum.

The group have proposed a renaming competition for the rivers and canals and a gala event in 2020 marked by a concert from a floating stage in the Claddagh Basin.

Mr James also held a meeting with Fáilte Ireland, who were enthusiastic about the tourism potential of the project.
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