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.
You can read the full thread here.
Photo – Minister Griffin walking the yet to be developed part of the line north of Mounthawk in 2013.
Martin Ferris TD asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross of the status of the proposed Tralee to Fenit greenway and when funding will be provided to complete the project.
In reply Minister Ross indicated that the government is commited to making additional funding available for greenways into the future,
The lack of progress on the Tralee to Fenit Greenway was raised in the Dail by John Brassil with a parliamentary question to Shane Ross regarding funding for the stalled Tralee to Fenit Greenway.
Minister Ross’s response was disappointing in that he stated that there would be no funding calls for Greenway in the immediate future.
Kerry Cycling Campaign were quick to point out that just a week later Minister Ross contradicted this information saying that Greenway funding would be announced later in the year.
We await clarification but hopefully the later is the case.
Arthur Spring TD questioned the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport on the availability of funding for the Greenway in the Dáil recently, the reply from Alan Kelly was:
Kerry County Council was provided with funding of €200,000 in 2012 towards the cost of delivering a cycleway from Tralee to Fenit. My Department is currently administering a multi annual funding programme related to the development of the National Cycle Network (NCN) to cover the period 2012 to 2016. Significant investment has already been made in 2012 and 2013 with €7 million allocated to projects across Ireland. This funding, which is provided to local authorities, will help to deliver cycleways in keeping with the objectives of the National Cycle Policy Framework. As this phase of the programme will expire at the end of 2013, it is my intention to initiate a new funding call later this year to provide, through competitive process, a further tranche of funding for the remainder of the years to 2016. Responsibility for completing the cycleway is a matter for Kerry County Council. If funding beyond own resources is required, then the local authority has the option to progress and submit a proposal to the Department under the next phase, once initiated, of the NCN Funding Programme.
Brendan Griffin TD raised the development of a cycle-walk way between Tralee and Fenit in the Dail recently, in reply Minister for Transport Alan Kelly gave his support and confirmed the fund for the project remains in place despite the recent difficulties.
I am fully supportive of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway. Given the project’s potential to contribute to both sustainable transport goals and to local tourism, the funding commitment from my Department remains in place. While the route is primarily a matter for Kerry County Council to progress, I understand that they are experiencing difficulties due to encroachment onto CIE lands. I therefore raised this specific issue with CIE and have communicated the need to ensure such encroachment is addressed.
More positive news, in a recent Dáil question regarding funding for cycleways Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey indicated his intention to provide financial support for the Tralee to Fenit Greenway.
Since announcing the national cycle policy framework in April, I have indicated my intention to provide financial support to exemplary, demonstration, cycling infrastructure projects in the following areas: the Phoenix Park; Carrigaline; Eyeries; Passagewest, with a link to Rochestown; Crosshaven to Carrigaline; Dublin city, from Portobello to Fairview Park; Galway, comprising the Fisheries Field greenway; Fenit to Tralee; Castletroy; Newport to Mulranny; Westport greenway; and south Dublin, to link Adamstown directly to the Grand Canal cycle path.