Dáil debates

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Greenways Provision

9:45 pm

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for selecting this matter and the Minister for Transport, Deputy Eamon Ryan, for being present again. There is a sense of déjà vubecause having checked the record, I note that we discussed this matter on 17 November 2020. In the almost 12 months since, much water has passed under the bridge but we have cleared the latest hurdle through the most recent decision of the High Court to rule in favour of the greenway project. I am therefore here again tonight to reiterate the requirement for funding for the south Kerry greenway, which will be an iconic and world-class greenway once it is constructed. I am very hopeful we will have the ultimate green light in the very near future and complete the planning process for the initial and substantive phases of the greenway. As the Minister knows, it will require substantial up-front investment. I estimate in excess of €20 million will be required.

My understanding is the funding would be delivered under the new model through Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII.This will involve the Minister's Department and I hope it will involve a Government decision as the project will be of national importance. It will not just be a local or regional project.

I know the Minister is very passionate about this and he knows the territory well. He is very familiar with it. When we spoke last year, he was very passionate about the project and any time I speak with him in the corridors, I can tell he gets cycling. This project will be transformative for the entire region and marketable internationally as a national project.

We should bear in mind that if the up-front cost is in excess of €20 million, much of that will come back to the Exchequer in the construction phase. I am very confident, as all our research indicates, that within a very short time the revenue generated by this project will far outweigh any State investment required.

I ask the Minister to make provision for the construction funding that will be required for the south Kerry greenway. As I said, I am hopeful we will have the ultimate green light in a matter of days. At that stage, we must be ready to go as soon as possible in order to get this moving. The Minister knows the area of south Kerry I am talking about. It has suffered major decline over decades, particularly in the past 20 years when it suffered economically and socially. It has really struggled. If the arrival of the Farranfore-Valentia railway in 1893 to south Kerry was ultimately a symbol of hope, the subsequent removal of the rail line in 1960 was a symbol of despair. The return of the greenway could be another symbol of hope and real economic prosperity. It is so important to this part of the county, including places like Glenbeigh, Kells, Foilmore, Cahersiveen, Reenard, Valentia Island and the whole of south Kerry.

It is something I am deeply passionate about. The Minister will know from the debates we have had in this House how I feel about this project. It was first put in place about 130 years ago and will be here for 130 years or more in the future. It will be our grandchildren and great grandchildren who will benefit from it. It is a very important project.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.