The Green Party has called for Tipperary to be prioritised in upcoming investment in Greenways. The call was made in the Party’s submission to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s consultation on the Future Development of Greenways.
Speaking today, Green Party Representative in Tipperary, Gearóid Fitzgibbon, said: “Greenways should be a key part of our public transport network. Not only do they provide great walking and cycling experiences for recreation, they also have a transformative effect on areas in which they are built – they can provide a major boost for the local economy, as well as the obvious health benefits.
“We want Tipperary to be prioritised in the upcoming Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport strategy on Greenways.
“Tipperary offers two potential routes for greenways which could provide great benefit to underserved rural areas. Both of these have strong community backing, and the potential to add value to existing tourist offerings. The “Stolen Railway” is the remains of a rail link that existed for just 10 years between 1868 and 1878 between Birr and Portumna, which crosses the northernmost parish of north Tippe
rary has considerable potential as a future greenway project. The route was identified in the Lorrha Rathcabbin Community Action Plan 2016-2019 which was completed in 2016 by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership with funding under the Social Inclusion programme. Utilising the redundant transport infrastructure of the Stolen Railway as an off road pedestrian/cycle route could make it an exemplar of sustainable development of rural recreation and activity based tourism. This route could provide the basis of a day cycle tour that takes in the sites of Portumna, Lorrha, Lakeen Castle and Birr. It would also link into the existing Ormond Way and 300km Beara Breifne Way.
“The disused rail line between Roscrea and Portumna which closed in the 1960s also offers a significant opportunity. An existing Tipperary and Offaly Greenway Committee has secured agreement from landowners along the route to carry out a feasibility study on the project. This trail could in turn connect with the Grand Canal Greenway plan. Working with local committees like the Social and Community Enterprise group in Lorrha Rathcabbin (SCÉAL), and the Tipperary and Offaly Greenway Committee could provide a major environmental and economic boost for the entire region.
“State investment in cycle infrastructure in general, and greenways in particular, has consistently ranked highly in cost-benefit analysis. In addition to providing a valuable local transport link and recreational resource, greenways yield benefits to public health and to local economies. The priority in the development of a Greenways Strategy should be a firm commitment to make the necessary investment of public funds to provide this infrastructure.” For further information/comment, contact Gearóid on: 085 7409023