Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway East Cllr. Anne Rabbitte says she is extremely disappointed with the handling of the route for the Galway and Roscommon greenway. The Transport Minister has announced that he is pausing development of this section of the route and is concentrating on completing the Greenway from Maynooth to Westmeath.
Cllr. Rabbitte commented, “Minister Paschal Donohoe says a decision was taken to postpone work on the Galway section of the Greenway “to allow time for all to reflect on the issues raised”. The fact of the matter is that farmers in Galway feel as if the project has been developing without consulting with them properly. When the project was put to public consultation, the route had already been decided upon, and there were no other options put on the table. This flies in the face of what a consultation process should be.
“I have attended meetings over the past 12 months where farmers have continuously outlined concerns. They say they are not opposed to the Greenway, they are just looking for alternative routes to be considered. The route that has been put forward runs through productive farm land and poses major problems for farmers who will be expected to ensure that the Greenway is kept safe and secure at all times. That is an unfair burden to place on these farmers, especially when other routes could have been explored.
“I am very disappointed that common sense could not prevail, and that other options could have been examined. The Greenway could have run along Shannon Bridge, via Meelick to Portumna, up the old Hymany Way and through Coillte-owned land to Woodford. From there, there two routes could have been considered – over the Sliabh Aughties, Gort and Kiltartan and back into Kinvara, where it could be linked with the Wild Atlantic Way or go through Loughrea and down into Athenry.
“There the small rural towns along these routes which could have been given a major boost with the extension of this Greenway but unfortunately that has now been put on hold. The Government had an opportunity to rejuvenate these towns and villages through the extension of this Greenway, however the botched handling of this project has resulted in the plug being pulled without an effective or fair consultation process taking place. This is not only disappointing, it is shameful”.