Community groups, political representatives and residents are calling on Galway County Council to seize the moment and deliver on the long anticipated Connemara Greenway. The groups are echoing the words of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan who has called on local authorities to use the July stimulus package to deliver on initiatives like the greenway to boost local economies and ensure sustainable modes of transport.
The Moycullen Community Development Association (MCDA ) has urged Galway County Council to consider the recommendations of their Village Plan carried out in consultation with NUI Galway and funded by the Irish Research Council. The plan, published earlier this year, highlights the potential of the Greenway to transform the village and adjoining regions in Connemara. Based on the views of over 800 residents, the Village Plan made clear the unprecedented demand for a dedicated cycleway connecting Moycullen to Galway City and Connemara:
“We see the Greenway as a lynchpin in the future development of the Village. We have a young population, one that is eager to connect to the city and the world class beauty of Connemara, and the greenway is a viable alternative to car based access, said “ said Peadar Mc Fhlannchadha Chairperson of the MCDA
“A new found appreciation for cycling and accessing the environment has been one of the main outcomes from the recent lockdown, and councils around the country have reacted through the provision of dedicated safe cycling infrastructure. According the to Connemara Greenway Alliance, Galway County Council has been slow to act: “We have been campaigning for the delivery of this Greenway for over four years now.
“We acknowledge the work of the Council in their completion of 9kms Ballnahinch section, but we are calling of them to use the recent announcement by Minister Ryan to connect the city to Connemara and reap the many benefits, from the commercial to health and reputation benefits for the citizens of Galway” John Power CEO of Aerogen and member of the Connemara Greenway Alliance,” he said.
Moycullen Village Plan author and Economic Geographer at NUI Galway, Dr Patrick Collins said that very few infrastructure investments have the kind of cost benefit ratio of the Connemara Greenway.
“In economic terms alone, the completion of the greenway would act as commercial stimulus right through the heart of Connemara. The post Covid world is difficult to predict, but you would be confident in the west of Ireland being attractive to visitors and residents alike, investments like this could transform the offering towards open-air recreation in one of Europe’s least populated regions.”
Dr Collins added that it was not just a tourism offering, citing overwhelming support from the residents of Moycullen towards the Greenway. “Together with a better bus service, there is a massive demand from residents of the region for the delivery of this Greenway. Indeed, when you consider what the region has to offer in terms of environment, recreation and tourism,