Save the Barrow Line campaigners welcome refusal of planning permission

Chairwoman Olivia O’Leary hails ‘enlightened and responsible decision’

Campaigners have hailed a decision to refuse planning permission to develop part of a riverside grass path stretching across three counties.

The proposed Barrow Blueway is a Waterways Ireland initiative that would see a 112km walking and cycling track connect Lowtown in Kildare to St Mullins in Carlow.

Plans included the development of the old towpath, currently a grassy walkway, to accommodate “tailored surface finishes”, information and direction signs and other works which would run through counties Carlow, Laois and Kildare.

About 52km of the pathway is located in Co Carlow, which took the decision to refuse permission on the basis of ecological considerations and the conservational impact on the river.


Planning permission

Laois County Council, meanwhile, said it has agreed to planning permission for development within its boundaries, subject to conditions. Kildare officials, due to decide on a further 47km, could not be reached for comment.

In a statement Waterways Ireland said it had “received the details of the decision of Carlow and Laois County Councils and is awaiting details of the decision by Kildare County Council”.

The Save the Barrow Line campaign group welcomed the decision, which it said would protect the "precious wildlife corridor". It said it was a demonstration that planning officials had "listened to the hundreds of people from the Barrow Valley and further afield who have sent in objections to the proposal".

Its chairwoman Olivia O’Leary described it as an “enlightened and responsible decision”.

“This green grassy path along the Barrow is the jewel in Co Carlow’s crown, the most beautiful riverside walk in these islands,” she said.

“It deserves to be publicised for what it is, a peaceful wild way leading to the historic Abbey of Duiske in Graiguenamanagh and the seventh century monastic settlement in St Mullins.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times