There was disagreement over the future of part of the proposed Western Rail Corridor this week, when it was proposed that part of the track the old line follows be used for a greenway project in east Mayo. Cllr Joe Mellett raised the issue at Monday’s special county development plan meeting, where he suggested that a walking and cycling track be developed alongside the track at the planned rail corridor.
However Sinn Féin councillor Gerry Murray said that such a plan could not happen as it would go against regional planning guidelines and the national spatial strategy. He also said that there already had been preliminary discussions with the European Union for 75 per cent funding of the remainder of the Western Rail Corridor last year and that Irish Rail had already said that such a greenway could not happen inside the railway corridor.
Cllr Mellett’s Fine Gael colleague Cllr Patsy O’Brien also rejected the idea saying, “It’s not feasible to it, you are jeopardising structural funds if you go ahead with this motion.”
Cllr Mellett had earlier told the meeting that there were currently people turning parts of the track into farm yards and they could look to take over the property under squatters’ rights, and the encroachment had to stop. Cllr O’Brien responded that if that was happening Mayo County Council was the planning authority with the power to stop such things. Independent councillor Richard Finn also questioned the merits of constructing another greenway as it could potentially impact the attractiveness and growth of the current coastal greenway.