Westport based Fine Gael election candidate, Peter Flynn, has said he will insist that the Greenway extensions to Louisburgh and Ballycroy are to the fore when it comes to setting out Mayo County Council's strategy for the next five years.
The Great Western Greenway put Mayo on the map both nationally and internationally but works have ground to a halt in recent years, with Mayo County Council allocating no budget to the expansion over the last five years.
Flynn has a particular interest in the Greenway project as he was chair of the Mayo Walking Partnership in 2010 at the inception of the Greenway project. The Greenway was envisaged to complete the Great Western Greenway, including the extensions to Murrisk and Turlough.
Flynn said: "When I finished up as Chairman of the group in 2014 all the key stakeholders had signed off on a fully approved strategy which had the existing Greenway linking from Leenane, Louisbugh and Murrisk on the south side and the expansion of the Greenway from Newport down into north mayo via Ballycroy National Park.
"For some bizarre reason the councillors and executive terminated this group which was made up of all the key stakeholders in the region and sadly, five years on, the expansion has not materialised.
"I am very proud to say I formally proposed the original greenway from Westport to Achill back in June 2005 but the real reason this happened was the way the council and particularly the Walking Officer, Anna Connor, engaged with the landowners and community leaders along the route.
"This is the template that needs to be replicated in order to progress this project. It was a leap of faith for landowners back in the early days of the Greenway as most people had no idea how all was going to evolve but it is now very clear that massive economic benefits accrue to those along the route.
"Right now we also have the added benefit of having Minister Ring in a department with funding available for shovel ready schemes like this. The project is an important adjunct to the Wild Atlantic Way.
"We have the plan, the people and the backing to make this happen so we need to get the sleeves rolled up and forget the glossy brochures and photo opportunities and all work together, it is time to get back to basics and get this project back on track. If elected I will give my assurance I will make this project a key priority and will work with everyone possible to kick-start this project again."