The Minister for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary TD, has announced that the Department of Transport has made available a funding package totalling €1.6m to Mayo County Council to develop a 17.5km off-road cycle and walking route between Newport and Mulranny.
Some financial support for this project has also been made available by the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Fáilte Ireland.
The route is mainly along the former Midland Great Western Railway line. The development has been made possible by the agreement of local landowners who have allowed access along this former rail line to enable its development as a world class cycling and walking route. Mayo County Council will construct and manage the route, which is expected to be completed towards the end of 2009.
When completed the route will be 17.5km in length and will be developed to the best international standards for cycling and walking routes.
The total cost of developing the route is €1.6 million, with the Department of Transport contributing €1.28 million of this.
The Newport to Mulranny cycle route adds to a comprehensive range of recreational walks throughout the country to suit all ages and fitness levels, from long distance walks on the network of national waymarked ways to shorter looped walks and forestry walks and even Slí Na Sláinte strolls to help keep your heart healthy.
The Newport to Mulranny route was identified in Fáilte Ireland’s Strategy for the Development of Irish Cycling Tourism as an important part of a linear cycling route linking Achill with Westport which potentially could offer users 42km of traffic free cycling. Businesses in Mayo have worked with Fáilte Ireland over the last year and have signed up to an adventure charter to deliver exceptional service to visitors coming to the area to engage in a wide range of land and water based activities. This route will add significant value to the overall tourism product in the region
Minister Calleary said: “From a tourism perspective this is a significant development for the area and will position west Mayo as one of the most attractive destinations for cycling enthusiasts and for those who wish to engage in outdoor activity as part of their holiday. The delivery of the Newport-Mulranny route is the first steps in delivering a national cycle network in Ireland. Such a network will ensure access to safe off-road cycling and walking routes which can be used by the maximum number of users. This route will act both as a transport corridor and as a local leisure amenity. I look forward to further initiatives on developing this network in the coming years,” he said.
“Newport and Mulranny each have a primary school engaged in the Green Schools programme. Other schools in the Westport and Achill region will also benefit from the proximity of this amenity, which will encourage more engagement with walking and cycling as a transport mode. This is a very welcome development for this region of west Mayo,” concluded Minister Calleary.