An east-west greenway
Sir, – Eamon Ryan’s support for the idea of a greenway running from east to west (On your bike, June 20th) and expansion of the network of greenways summarised the avalanche of opinion in favour of utilising long-abandoned rail lines as greenways. The Great Western Greenway is cited as a success, as if this idea is something new and marvellous. It’s not. We are merely playing catch-up with the rest of Europe.
In the northwest we had welcome news this week of funding to investigate a greenway on the old Sligo north Leitrim rail line which will run from Collooney Co Sligo into Co Leitrim and on to Co Cavan.
If this greenway is put in place, then surely we can realise the only good use for the Western Rail Corridor route from Collooney in Sligo down to Athenry in Co Galway is to convert it to a greenway that will connect with the Great Western Greenway and the east-west cross-country greenway?
Mayo County Council recently received hundreds of public submissions on the new county plan asking for this old railway to be converted to a greenway. Public opinion has changed. There simply isn’t the money nor the political will to re-open a railway from Athenry to Sligo; in particular when the train line opened from Ennis to Athenry is carrying an average of eight passengers a train.
Why can’t these facts now be faced. We simply don’t need a Western Rail Corridor. A greenway on this route will deliver thousands of tired hungry tourists for a fraction of a cost. Why can’t this nettle be grasped? – Yours, etc,