Cllr. John Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, has welcomed the announcement of €4.76 million of funding to complete a further 35kms of the Grand Canal Greenway in County Offaly from Edenderry to Lough Boora. He especially welcomed the change in criteria with 100% of funding coming from central government where previously it was 60%. This significantly relieves pressure on the Council’s own financial resources to complete such valuable projects.
The Council’s Roads and Planning sections hope that by the end of 2021 there will be a completed, predominantly off-road Greenway from the county boundary at Edenderry to the Lough Boora Discovery Park visitor centre, passing through or close to Rhode, Daingean, Ballycommon, Tullamore, Killina, Rahan and Pullough. Offaly County Council will continue to seek funding to complete the Grand Canal Greenway to Shannonharbour.
Minister Eamon Ryan, T.D. Minister of Transport, and Hildegarde Naughton, T.D Minister of State, have today confirmed the allocation of funding for a range of Greenways across the country.
Announcing the allocations Minister Ryan T.D. said:
“I am delighted to be able to confirm that the allocation of €63.5m to Greenways for 2021 is the highest single year amount ever allocated to Greenways. Indeed, it nearly equals the total amount originally allocated for the 4 years 2018-2021 (€53m) and shows the commitment of this Government to providing a step-change in the way in which we fund walking and cycling.
I’m pleased to announce that we will contribute a significant amount to the Great Southern Greenway in Limerick to support the work of the County Council in bringing the Greenway up to a modern standard. This will ensure that cyclists will have a quality experience all the way from Rathkeale, Co.Limerick to Listowel, Co.Kerry. This funding will also support the refurbishment of the Longford Canal with improved infrastructure being provided along this cycleway. In County Offaly we are funding the extension of the Grand Canal Greenway from Daingean to Edenderry, meaning that by the end of next year it will be possible to cycle the Greenway the whole way from Edenderry to Lough Boora, over 50km worth of cycleway.”
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said “The allocations of €63.5 million being made today will go a long way in delivering a safe and sustainable environment for active travel in our villages, towns and cities. We are funding the construction of a Greenway bridge across the River Shannon in Athlone as part of the Galway to Dublin Greenway. This investment will support even greater numbers enjoying our outdoors by cycling and walking for school, work and leisure.
We are also supporting the roll-out of a new Safe Routes to School Initiative. This programme will seek to accelerate the delivery of improved walking and cycling infrastructure to schools; enhance sustainable access onto school grounds; and expand the amount of cycle parking available at schools. Underpinning this new initiative, we will see almost €1 million per day spent on our walking and cycling infrastructure in the year 2021. 2021 is only the start, we will continue to build on this level of investment over the coming years.”