Pending review of rail line is ‘a major stumbling block’ to outdoor recreation, says Cannon

Mayor Niall McNelis lights a candle at the Nollaig na mBan vigil in Eyre Square to remember women affected by the Cervical Check scandal. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Mayor Niall McNelis lights a candle at the Nollaig na mBan vigil in Eyre Square to remember women affected by the Cervical Check scandal. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

The pending review of the Western Rail Corridor north of Athenry is a “major stumbling block” to the development of outdoor recreation facilities in east Galway, and it is “high time” it was commenced, Minister Ciaran Cannon said this week.

The Minister for the Diaspora and International Development made his comments following the announcement of €11 million in funding for greenways across the country. A proposed greenway north of Athenry, which would follow the route of the disused railway line, was not among the projects included in the latest tranche of funding.

“I’m delighted to note the large number of events occurring around east Galway this month which have people’s health and wellbeing as the primary focus,” Minister Cannon said. “These include events such as the spin by Seven Springs Cycling Club next Sunday January 13 from Loughrea, and the various walks inspired by the Operation Transformation concept.

‘What would really be marvellous, of course, is to give all of these groups and organisations a new unifying force in the region, and given the welcome announcement yesterday [Tuesday] of more beneficiaries under the Outdoor Recreation Scheme administered by my colleague Minister Ring’s Department, many now see the review into the line north of Athenry, a review that has not even commenced, as a major stumbling block to creating this new force.

“The many supporters of the Quiet Man Greenway in Athenry, Milltown, and Tuam sit and watch while other regions and counties benefit from funding announcements for similar amenities and while we cheer these places on for their efforts, we simply want the same chance as all other greenway beneficiaries,” he added.

“This is not alone for sporting organisations but for local jobs, local health, and local futures.

“It is high time that this review got under way and, more to the point, high time that it got out of the way of progress. Minister Seán Canney, who demanded this review in the first place, needs to impress upon both Irish Rail and Minister Shane Ross the importance of bringing this review to a conclusion as quickly as possible.”

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