The Galway County Council rejected calls for a feasibility study to be carried out on the establishment of a greenway on the western rail corridor.
The motion which was brought forward by Tuam councillor Shaun Cunniffe and was signed by another five of his council colleagues, called on the local authority to seek funding from the Department of Transport, for a feasibility study with a view to possibly using the disused railway alignment along Athenry, Ballyglunin, Tuam, Kilconly, and Milltown as a greenway.
Referencing the success of greenways in Mayo and Waterford, Cllr Cunniffe said; “A greenway would be a wonderful local amenity and also a provide a substantial economic injection to the whole area and bring employment and rural regeneration.
“The establishment of this greenway would in no way compromise the future provision of railway service should it ever come to pass, on the contrary a greenway would protect the alignment for any further use.”
Supporting Cllr Cunnife’s motion, independent councillor Karey McHugh said; “This is the biggest issue I have ever seen in my lifetime and brought the people out on their feet. We want to be proactive. We are asking for answers from this study. The opening of the new motorway is very much welcomed but it may affect trade in the town. A greenway could be the answer for that.”
However, a counter motion brought by councillor Billy Connelly suggested the council should wait until the national rail review was completed first.
This motion was passed by the council by a majority of 24 to 15 votes.
Councillor Cunniffe reacted angrily shouting out; “Thank you very much. It is clear the chamber has no respect for Tuam.”
The original motion calling for a feasibility study can be put back on the council agenda for consideration once the national rail review is completed.