Galway Greenway Group is a consortium of business owners, hoteliers, landowners, families, and individuals who want to see the completion of the Connemara Greenway from Galway City to Clifden. The project has been dogged by objections in the last few years and the discussion up to now has been increasingly negative for various reasons.
However, rather than having the conversation stuck in that mode, this new group is keen on developing a discourse that appreciates the concerns of all stakeholders in the project and by doing so, will hopefully advance the project that will be worth millions to Galway tourisms over the next decade.
The Galway Greenway Group is trying to change the narrative and focus on the positives of an off road cycle/walk way which will be fair to landowners and facilitate hundreds of thousands of domestic and overseas users taking to the Greenway every year. (The Mayo Greenway had 275,000 users in 2015 )
A petition launched in January has so far received more than 2,100 signatures. ‘’All of the comments left have been hugely positive’’ said a Galway Greenway Group spokesperson. ”One person said they would travel from Australia to use it. Others from Connemara mentioned how much they would love to see this for the benefit of their communities and to prevent further rural emigration’’
‘’There are myriad benefits. Greenways actually help tackle rural isolation and they improve people’s mental health through exercise and access to green spaces. They are safe for families and older people to walk and cycle, and safe for people with additional needs as there is no threat from vehicular traffic’’
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation ), Ireland is on course to becoming the most obese country in the world by 2030. 25 per cent of children in Ireland are overweight or obese. Four out of five children do not meet the minimum recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate to physical activity. ‘’The greenways can be part of the solution to reversing these trends’,” said the spokeperson, “and create some joined up thinking between health, exercise and the environment.’’
“Already you can see huge numbers walking and taking to their bikes in Mayo and the new Greenways in Waterford and Westmeath. It is such a shame that Galway is being left behind when the potential benefits are huge. We are calling on our elected representatives and the public to get behind this vital piece of infrastructure”.
Galway Greenway Group is asking members of the public to sign their petition on change.org, which can be found by searching on that website for ‘Galway Greenway’.
For further information on the Galway Greenway Group, email [email protected], or find it on Facebook.