The Connemara Greenway Project has the potential to “emulate the success of the Great Western Greenway between Westport and Achill” and become a major tourist magnet for County Galway.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway West TD Sean Kyne who has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s planning permission to the Galway County Council for the ambitious greenway project.
The Connemara Greenway Project seeks to create a walking/cycle track of 52km along the route of the old Galway to Clifden railway. The route will have an asphalt surface and seven new bridges, seven site compounds (during construction ), signage information, and mapping.
ABP granted permission as it felt the project would help meet national policies on cycling and the development of cycleways in the Galway County Development Plan; for its potential economic benefits; and that the design and work will involve “minimal intervention into, or interference with, the existing landscape”.
The Bord concluded, the works, “would not be likely to have significant adverse affects on the environment”; “would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety”; and “would comprise a sustainable form of tourism”.
However ABP has laid down a number of conditions, such as the engagement of a project ecologist for the duration of the construction work and a “suitably-qualified archaeologist who shall monitor all site investigations”.
The only remaining outstanding issue is that negotiations with land-owners are still to be finalised, although it is not thought that this will cause any delay to the ultimate realisation of the project.
Dep Kyne said the Greenway will attract tourists from both within Ireland and from abroad. He also commended “local community groups in Clifden, Recess and Oughterard for taking the lead in this community-focused project as well as the staff of the county council for their work”.