John Brassil TD raised the lack of progress on the Tralee Fenit Greenways and in Kerry in general with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil during the week.
On page 45 of the programme for Government there is a commitment to providing significant funding towards developing a national greenway network. In my county of Kerry, there is a disused railway line from Tralee to Fenit. There has been a walkway proposed for it for a number of years but there has been no progress whatsoever this year or last year. The south Kerry greenway from Glenbeigh down to Renard was announced amid great fanfare in 2014. Again there has been very little progress.
When will we see delivery of this commitment in County Kerry and across Ireland?
The Taoiseach asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to reply.
Photo – John Brassil at the launch of phase two of the greenway in June 2014
The Tralee to Fenit Greenway was mentioned in the Dáil yet again recently this time during a debate on the finance bill.
Minister Brendan Griffin was waxing lyrically about the benefits of Greenways while welcoming the extra €50 million allocated for greenway development in the budget, lets hope we see some of that funding down here next year !
I am glad that an extra €50 million has been allocated to greenway development, which has sustainability written all over it. There is huge potential for additional greenways. Research shows that every euro spent on greenways has a massive return in terms of economic activity. An example of that is the greenway from Westport to Achill. I was on the route from Newport to Mulranny in 2010 and it was a short, quiet greenway. I went back in 2013 and when I was sitting in a hotel in Achill waiting for a taxi to bring me back to Westport after completing the greenway I wrote a blog entitled “Why greenways should be called goldways”. Activity on the route included taxi hire, cafés, bicycle hire and many other little shops doing very well out of it. There is great potential to do even more in that regard. Members know of the Dungarvan greenway, which is going very well, and there is much more potential in terms of canal banks, old railway lines and various other assets. In terms of old railway lines, I am particularly familiar with the south Kerry line from Farranfore to Valentia Harbour and lines from Tralee to Fenit and Kilmorna to Listowel. Not only are those assets available but we have an obligation to those gone before us who built those fantastic feats of engineering by hand to make the most of those resources. Not to do so would be a terrible waste. Those fantastic feats of engineering were put in place in the late 1800s when there was little machinery to assist in their construction. We have an opportunity to make the most of them for this generation and for future generations and need to grasp that opportunity. I am, therefore, glad that €50 million has been allocated for drawdown in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and will be working on that within my Department.