Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
The Minister has nailed it in one. This is a key component but we do not have to build greenways all over the country. There are many local tertiary roads that are underutilised at present and often looked upon as liabilities by local authorities. With minor engineering work they could be massive assets. Perhaps they could have a special designation status as a priority cycle route which would allow for the linking up of dedicated greenways. I wrote about this in 2013. I raised the south Kerry greenway in my first council motion in 2009. We are almost over the line at this stage now.
As the Minister will know, money talks and the key discussion to be had around the south Kerry greenway is to secure the funding. I am confident the remaining issues, in regard to permissions for the small number of sections we spoke about, can be overcome. In the meantime, it would be a shame if there was an unnecessary delay of the overall project, while some of the minor issues are ironed out. This is a project of national importance and it will feed into many of the aims in the programme for Government, in regard to the integrated cycle networks and in making the Wild Atlantic Way more cycling and walking friendly where possible, and all the outdoor initiatives emphasised in the programme.
Old railways, in particular, are brilliant for greenways because their gradients are suitable for cyclists of all abilities. I cycled the Waterford greenway during the summer with my family. My eight-year-old son managed to do 46 km on his bike in a single day because the gradient was amenable to people of all levels of ability. This is no different from the situation in Kerry and it will be an inclusive facility. It will be a massive game changer, but we need the money.