“The news this week that a section of the Western Greenway has been closed by a landowner, effectively cutting the successful tourist trail in two, shows once again the need for legislation to provide for walking routes and cycling paths in scenic areas of the country,” said Councillor Harry Barrett.
Councillor Barrett explained: "Coming on top of the Lissadell judgment last week, this is yet another blow for walking tourism in the west and it will cost the county jobs and income. The Western Greenway alone generates €7.2 million for the local economy in Mayo, according to Fáilte Ireland, yet even this successful project is being jeopardised by the actions of a single uncooperative landowner. This will certainly hurt the local economy. This is yet another example of why it is important that we pass legislation to give responsible walkers more access to the countryside, and the economic benefits of such a measure would be quite substantial.”
Cllr Barrett said it is “for all these reasons, Labour introduced the Access to the Countryside Bill in June of this year, which is aimed at helping to create jobs in the tourist industry by giving walkers greater access to our beautiful countryside. The Bill will be discussed in detail by the Oireachtas Environment Committee early next year and will hear from all the stakeholders involved, including landowners and walking groups.”