Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Topical Issue Debate

Greenways Funding

4:45 pm

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister for his comprehensive reply and will make a few points on foot of it. As he outlined, a number of projects will be considered for funding by his Department, but I assure him that the projects in counties Longford and Westmeath would have major benefits. I cannot emphasise strongly enough the fact that they are ready to go. Longford and Westmeath county councils have done great work to date and significant economic benefit could be reaped by going the extra mile.

I will push this point strongly for County Longford, the people of which have endured a great deal in recent years. The dawn of the Center Parcs project is a ray of hope, but we need to get the facilities in place to meet that project. We must work hard so as to ensure that the cycle network is up and running and we can get maximum benefit from the project. We must market the greenway aggressively. Fáilte Ireland has a number of projects nationally, including Ireland's Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, but this one involves a number of local amenities and features that could bring significant economic benefit to the area, for example, old abandoned stations along the Mullingar-Athlone route that could be visited by tourists, provide a glimpse of our past and be a great asset to our community.

I thank the Minister for his work and for visiting the constituency and meeting officials from the area. I urge him to put this project at the top of his Department's regional priorities.


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