Two projects in Mayo are going to benefit from a €700,000 investment in the county under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme - which is administered by Minister Michael Ring's department.
€500,000 has been allocated for major improvement works on the existing Great Western Greenway between Rosturk and Mulranny and €200,000 in funding has been approved for the improvement to the Great Western Greenway approach to Westport.
Welcoming the funding for Mulranny, Cllr Gerry Coyle said: "The works include the construction of 3km of new Greenway between Murriveagh and Bunnahowna on an untouched section of old railway that has been acquired by Mayo County Council.
"At present, users of the Greenway trail travelling between Newport and Mulranny need to divert from the original railway line at Murrevagh and utilise an existing track over 3km on the Murrevagh Commonage. This track has steep gradients and bends and there have been numerous serious accidents on the stretch particularly involving cyclists descending the route at high speed. This funding will facilitate the construction of a new 3km section of Greenway, utilising the old railway line which is now available to the project.
"Mulranny is a prime example of the transformative impact of the Greenway on local communities. This funding will make the trail in and around Mulranny safer, which can only be good news for the many users of the Greenway from near and far.”
Cllr Peter FLynn welcomed the funding for the Westport area, saying: "The Great Western Greenway has had a transformative impact all around Clew Bay and Minister Ring has supported it from the start. Through his Department’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme alone, he has now allocated over €2 million for the development of the Greenway.
"The work, to be carried out by Mayo County Council, will involve major access improvement works on the approach of the Great Western Greenway to Westport. This will entail the rerouting of the Greenway at Aittireesh to Deerpark over a 1km distance and the construction of adjoining works including setting back a wall and installing road segregated kerbing.
"At present the Greenway approaches Westport via the Aittreesh lane which has steep gradients of greater than 15 per cent. These works will provide a new more direct route with a gentler gradient and improve the greenway at Deerpark where it shares the public road with traffic.
"The works will involve the routing of the Greenway through private land over a 1km distance and separating walkers and cyclists from car traffic on the public road through provision of a dedicated path which would be separated from the road carraigeway.
"The benefits for the Westport area will be significant and long standing. We are blessed to live in a beautiful part of the world and this work on the greenway will continue to attract visitors to our area and will provide a wonderful outlet to locals.
"The works will also ensure that the Greenway continues to link numerous complementary recreational and tourism facilities including Westport leisure Centre, Westport House and a local playground."