Local Independent TD Denis Naughten has welcomed the allocation of €1.86 million in funding to plan and develop local greenways across counties Roscommon, Longford and Offaly, which he says, have huge potential to promote tourism and create long-term sustainable jobs across the region.
As part of this announcement, €1.3 million has been allocated for the Lough Ree Greenway Project to fund an assessment of route options from Athlone to Ballyleague. There is a further €145,000 for the section between Ballyleague and Tarmonbarry, a total greenway route of 68km, that will connect the greenway at Clondra to the greenway at Athlone, where cyclists will also be able to connect up with the greenway to Portumna and Galway City.
Funding of €150,000 has been allocated to Longford County Council to plan the link from Kilnacarrow Bridge to the Clondra to Mullingar greenway, which would link up with the Tarmonbarry to Athlone greenway at Kilnacarrow Bridge.
“As Minister for Energy, I worked closely with Longford County Council and Bord na Móna on a project to open up the use of this bridge over the Shannon for cyclists and it is very positive that Minister Eamon Ryan is now following through on this work,” stated Denis Naughten.
A further €250,000 has been allocated to develop the concept of a greenway from Carrick-on-Shannon to Lough Key in the north of the county and €15,000 for a route from Athlone to Clonmacnoise in County Offaly, which will then connect up with the Dublin to Galway greenway in Shannonbridge, creating a cycle loop on both sides of the River Shannon through County Roscommon.
“This funding is part of an overall strategy to utilise our bogs, public lands and public access to develop more walking and cycling routes across our region which will benefit local families as well as visitors,” Deputy Naughten added.
“Bord na Móna has a land holding of just under 200,000 acres across the country and, as a result, there is a considerable land bank where peat extraction has already ceased, which would naturally flood, and where work on rehabilitation can start including the provision of recreational facilities such as walking and cycling trails,” concluded Denis Naughten.