Monday, 29 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
There were two important announcements earlier, one of which related to a walking and cycling fund of €70 million, which is greatly welcomed. In Tipperary, we will receive €4.6 million, which is an awful lot of money to support walking and cycling tracks throughout the county. We are very lucky at the moment. While it is not as well known as the greenway in Waterford, there is a blueway in Tipperary from Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel. It has been very successful over the past year since it was opened, particularly during Covid. The announcement today of €70 million gives Tipperary County Council and Waterford County Council the opportunity to connect the greenway and the blueway in Tipperary. A feasibility study is being carried out on the possibility of expanding the blueway from Cahir to the Rock of Cashel, which will enhance tourism along the way. I encourage both county councils to work together and seize the opportunity to connect the blueway and the greenway.
There was also an announcement from the Department of Rural and Community Development about promoting rural Ireland, in conjunction with the Tánaiste, the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Ryan. It is about supporting people to live and work in rural Ireland and I welcome that, as someone who has lived in rural Ireland all his life and loves it. It will encourage people to live in places such as Tipperary. The new initiative will focus very much on remote working. Will the Leader ask the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, to come to the House after Easter to discuss the launch? We could examine the issue of the banks that have closed in recent weeks. In Tipperary, Bank of Ireland branches in Cahir, Cashel and Templemore were closed and perhaps we could examine them as opportunities for remote working areas. I have written to the CEO of Tipperary County Council, Joe McGrath, to inquire whether he could examine the opportunity to purchase or lease those buildings. Perhaps the Government or a Department would support him on that front. These are fantastic buildings in three towns and they give us the opportunity to encourage people to live and work in small towns in rural Ireland.