A new partnership, endorsed by both Fáilte Ireland and Hidden Heartlands, which will see public representatives and groups from Roscommon and Galway coming together in a bid to create jobs and boost tourism along the River Suck, was launched on Friday last in Ballymoe.
Chairperson of the Suck Valley Way, Cllr. Anthony Waldron described the partnership as historic and said it would be mutually beneficial to both counties.
“Working together is the best way forward for this region. This is the heart of rural Ireland we’re talking about and the people who are here today and those who live in communities along the River Suck will be important in driving this initiative,” he said.
Last Friday’s launch was attended by Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Joe Murphy and Chairman of Ballinasloe Municipal District, Cllr. Dermot Connolly as well as local councillors and public representatives.
Cllr. Waldron said the venture, which is backed by Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Galway Rural Development Committee and local councillors, would focus on job creation while taking advantage of the rich history and heritage of the Suck Valley Way in order to develop tourism.
Speaking at last Friday’s launch, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Joe Murphy said both Roscommon and Galway shared in the rich history of the river.
“I’m delighted to be here. The River Suck joins the two counties and it’s a huge stretch of river which also joins towns and villages with walkways and cycleways,” he said.
“We have seen already how important these cycleways and walkways are for mental health and getting outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic and we have something here that will act as a driver for tourism”.
Chairman of Ballinasloe Municipal District Dermot Connolly said that both County Councils would be key to bringing the initiative to fruition.
“Both Councils and the general public can work well together. This is a fantastic amenity to have on our doorsteps, a live and living thing that we should all utilise,” he said.
“The people living along the banks of the River Suck need to be heard, and we are really up for the challenge”.
The launch also heard details of the Suck Valley Daffodil Challenge from Treasurer, Gareth Scahill, whereby communities along the river will be encouraged to plant daffodils in order to promote the Suck Valley Way while raising funds for Cancer Care West.
Ronan Bilbow, Rural Recreation Officer with Roscommon LEADER Partnership, described Roscommon as an “amazing county” and paid tribute to communities along the river.
The launch was also attended by local TD Michael Fitzmaurice and Senators Eugene Murphy and Aisling Dolan.
Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan said that as someone who grew up on the banks of the River Suck, she looked forward to new projects which would further develop the amenity and the Roscommon and Galway connection.
“I look forward to new projects as there is such potential especially working with Fáilte Ireland and the Hidden Heartlands to develop this area along with Roscommon LEADER Partnership and Galway Rural Development,” she said.
“Rural Recreation Officers are crucial to developing access for recreational use by walkers and anglers. The Government is investing in regional cycleway and walkway projects and accessibility for all users is key.
“We want to make our region a place to live and work for local families as well as encouraging more eco-tourism and showcasing activities from water sports, hiking, cycling, angling and more along the River Suck”.