The Galway Greenway has the potential to be the most frequented in the country, should plans to complete it go ahead.
That’s the view of Tiarnan McCusker, founder of the Galway Greenway Group, who describes it as a “vital piece of infrastructure”.
Mr McCusker believes Galway is being left behind as other counties, such as Mayo and Waterford, already have their greenways up and running.
“You’ve got all these greenways opening up all over Ireland and with the views that you would have cycling from Connemara I think the Connemara Greenway could be the most frequented and most spectacular greenway of all in the whole country,” he said.
A petition, which was launched in January by the group, has gained significant public support, with 2,391 signatures already gathered and one person even saying they would travel from Australia to cycle the greenway.
Mr McCusker said people are really seeing the benefits associated with having a greenway in Galway.
“They talk about the benefits for their children, they talk about the benefits for people that have additional needs, they talk about mental health benefits, they talk about the benefits for the rural communities to prevent rural isolation, to prevent rural migration.
“The tourism benefit and economic benefit are secondary to the benefits for the community and it’s really coming across that people just want to walk or cycle in a place that’s not full of traffic,” he added.
The project has been met with opposition fom landowners and residents in parts of Connemara, Moycullen, Rosscahill and Oughterard. Mr McCusker acknowledged that the consultation process “wasn’t perfect” but said he is confident local people can now work together to ensure the project is completed.
“It was poorly communicated and poorly received by the landowners,” he said, adding that “each individual landowner should be listened to. I think we can get the communities behind us and push through so that it is completed.”
The petition will be delivered to Minister for Transport Shane Ross as well as Galway County Council CE Kevin Kelly once it has reached 2,500 signatures.
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