It has been revealed that an allocation of €75,000 has been made available for a concept and feasibility study on the Quiet Man Greenway between Athenry and Milltown.
The funding which is under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020 and provides support for feasibility, planning and design for greenways around the country, was announced by director of services Jim Cullen to Galway county councillors at the local authority's plenary meeting at GMIT on Friday morning.
He also informed the members that two separate allocations of €140,000 and €100,000 were also provided for feasibility studies on a 17km section between Clifden and Kylemore Abbey and on a 8km stretch between Clifden and Derrygimlagh respectively.
Welcoming the news Fianna Fáil councillor Donagh Killilea congratulated the director and his team and described it as a good day for county Galway.
Fine Gael councillor Jimmy McClearn said while everyone supports the concept of a greenway, it was precluded by the Regional Spatial Strategy from being constructed on the railway line.
Ballinasloe councillor Michael Connolly concurred with Cllr McClearn's sentiments saying it was important that Galway was a place people can live and work and not a location where people go on their holidays.
Cllr Connolly said; "I agree wholeheartedly with Cllr McClearn; the strategy is very clear. Our objective for the regional line is to open for passengers and freight. I welcome the funding. The greenway can go anywhere but not on the railway and it is time we have to face up to it. That is the law.
"I am the chair of inter county rail committee [and the railway line] is a vital part of development of Atlantic in rail corridor. It is important we don't turn Galway into a park for those from Dublin and around the world. People have to be able to live and work here."
In response to the councillors' comments Mr Cullen said the council would look at all options and the location of where the greenway would not be determined until the feasibility study is completed.
Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon said the funding was the first investment in the Quiet Man Greenway which promotes tourism and improves the wellbeing of people in east Galway.
Deputy Cannon said; "Our Quiet Man Greenway campaign team has always argued that greenways will play an important role in supporting local communities to create jobs and bring visitors to our East Galway.
"As we have seen over the course of the lockdown, people are eager to get out into nature and avail of the stunning scenery in our country and the Quiet Man Greenway connecting Athenry, to the Quiet Man Station at Ballyglunin and on to Tuam and Milltown has so much to offer in terms of promoting tourism and also improving the wellbeing of our people.
"This is the first investment by our government in the Quiet Man Greenway and I'm confident it won't be the last. To have our greenway specifically named and identified for investment in a government document is truly groundbreaking."