Councillors at Monday’s meeting of Westmeath County Council (July 24 ) praised the county’s stretch of Greenway as the best Ireland has to offer, but said more development is needed in order to realise the amenity’s full potential.
Councillors were responding to a presentation from the new Tourism Officer for Westmeath, Una Doris. Ms Doris told the chamber that the Greenway forms an imperative part of the tourism offering in the county.
Ms Doris informed councillors that there is now a huge 89km of Greenway in Westmeath, more than any other county in Ireland. She added that overseas tourism increased by 8.8 per cent last year, while the number of domestic visitors is also growing.
Ms Doris said the Greenway provides a great opportunity to link up with attractions in towns and villages in Westmeath, and that this must be the focus moving forward.
Cllr Ken Glynn (FF ) also stated the potential of the Greenway. He said he had been on the amenity in Mullingar last Sunday at a time when it was thronged with both local and overseas users. However, he added that there is scope to introduce picnic tables and other such facilities in order to fully realise the Greenway’s potential.
Fianna Fáil councillor, Frankie Keena, called for more informative signage along the amenity to highlight the various attractions in close proximity.
Cllr Michael O’Brien (Ind ) and Labour’s Johnnie Penrose both raised the issue of lighting on the Greenway, and said this is an area than needs improving on.
Ms Doris told the chamber that a National Strategy on Greenways is currently being rolled out, which will detail how lighting will be utilised on the amenity. She added that she recognises the massive opportunities offered by the Greenway, and the huge potential to growing tourism in the county.