Thursday, 27 June 2013
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
24. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered redeveloping the toll paths along the Royal and Grand canals, including their branches, to allow for a cycle path/ walk way which would ultimately link the city of Dublin to the west and south east; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30940/13]
My Department is fully supportive of the development of cycle ways along canal paths and recognises the benefits of these initiatives. In general, it is a matter for relevant local authorities to progress and submit proposals for the development of such routes to the Department.
In respect of the Grand Canal, I understand that the provision of a cycle way along the route from Dublin to Naas has been identified as a potential greenway on the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) cycle network. However, no applications for funding of this section has been received to date by my Department or the National Transport Authority (NTA) which manages a funding programme that includes cycle infrastructure projects in the GDA.
This year, a seed financing scheme was established by my Department to give start-up support to local authorities to help with the development of initial proposals for noteworthy cycle projects. As part of the scheme, Offaly County Council sought funding for the development of proposals for a 60km cycle route along the Grand Canal from Edenderry to Shannon Harbour. There was considerable interest in the scheme and significantly more proposals were submitted than funding was available so regrettably, on this occasion, the proposal submitted was not successful.
In relation to the Royal Canal, the planning phase for a proposed Dublin-Galway Greenway is already underway, which will encompass part of the canal route from Dublin to Mullingar.
As above, the NTA is responsible for the provision of cycling infrastructure in the GDA and is therefore proceeding with the planning of the Dublin City Centre to Maynooth section of the proposed Greenway.
The NRA is undertaking the detailed route alignment and design work for the Maynooth to Galway section of the route. The design of the section along the Royal Canal between Maynooth and Mullingar is complete and is currently the subject of planning processes in both Meath and Kildare. Furthermore, the section from the Meath/Westmeath county boundary to Mullingar is currently under construction and will be completed before the end of the year.