An application is to be lodged by Galway County Council to the Department of Rural and Community Development for funding which would allow the substantial upgrading of the Rinville Walkway in Oranmore, preparing the way for it to become part of the Wild Atlantic Way experience.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring visited the walkway recently at the request of Oranmore native, Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton.
Representatives of Fáilte Ireland, Oranmore Tidy Towns, Galway County Council and Galway Bay Golf Resort were all in attendance for the Minister’s visit and it has now been revealed that Fáilte Ireland is to consider incorporating the walkway to Rinville Point into the Wild Atlantic Way when the project is finalised.
This is an ongoing project by Deputy Naughton who has been raising the condition of the walkway since 2013. She had been previously successful in having a screening report commissioned, which is a necessary precondition for any major works, and also had some minor safety works undertaken in the interim.
“Rinville is a fantastic amenity for locals and the wider community in Galway and beyond. The area combines the walkway, the sailing club, Galway Bay Golf Resort and Rinville Park, giving visitors a stunning vista of the Galway coastline. The walkway is registered as an “Irish Trail” and is also part of the Irish Heart Foundation’s “Slí na Sláinte” Oranmore walking route.
“This attraction has not received the attention or investment it deserves and has not reached its potential as a local amenity on the Wild Atlantic Way,” she said.
The Galway West TD said that investment was absolutely vital at this stage. Unless significant improvements were made in the short term, coastal erosion would decimate the walkway entirely.
“There is an urgent need for significant health and safety works to ensure that the thousands of people enjoying the walkway every week can do so in safety and comfort. Now is the time to upgrade the walking route and make it worthy of the spectacular position it occupies on Galway Bay,” said Deputy Naughton.
“Long-term work is also required in order to protect the coast from further storm damage and erosion. Parts of it have already been severely damaged, and we need to act now in order to preserve it for future generations.”
“Minister Ring was obviously impressed by Rinville and was very supportive of what we are trying to achieve,” she said. “As a former tourism minister and current Minister for Rural and Community Affairs, he understands the value of the location for the locality and for tourism in general.”
His department will ultimately adjudicate on the funding application, which will be made under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Deputy Naughton said that she is confident the merits of the project will ensure success in this process.