By Kieran O’Mahony
THE new Clonakilty ‘greenway’ is leaving users exposed to the dangerous N71 road, because it ends well short of its planned destination – the local technology park.
It has become something of a white elephant, according to one employee of the West Cork Business and Technology Park, who told The Southern Star that no one is using it until it properly connects to the Park.
A shortfall in funding means that the cycling and walking route, which runs from Clonakilty Hospital, ends several hundred yards short of the Technology Park which employs nearly 1,000 people in firms including Global Shares, West Cork Development Partnership, PGi and Capita.
It is envisaged that, when completed, it will be a great addition to the Park. But it currently forces cyclists and pedestrians out onto the deadly N71 road – the scene of many fatal accidents in recent years.
On the return journey from the technology park, users are forced to cross onto the busy N71, usually at rush-hour, and cross back over to connect into the greenway.
Furthermore, the hard shoulder on this section of the N71 is almost non-existent, meaning that walkers or cyclists are competing with fast-moving traffic commuting to and from the city.
‘No one is using it here ,and won’t be either until it comes into the park,’ claimed one Park employee. ‘It’s not very logical, really, as it isn’t stretching to the Park and people don’t want to have to go out on the road to either start or finish their journey.’
While funding is being sought for the last leg of the trail, there is no completion date confirmed as yet, but the 2km trail has been accessible to the public since last month.
There are long-term plans to extend it beyond the Park and onto Courtmacsherry.
Some comments on social media praised the greenway but Nick O’Donoghue – who filmed his journey – described the walk from the Park to the start of the greenway as ‘definitely scary’.
Cork South West Fine Gael TD Jim Daly recently visited ‘phase one’ of the project with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, and confirmed that a second funding application is currently before Minister Michael Ring to bring the project into the Park. ‘I expect a decision to be made on this funding in September/ October,’ said Deputy Daly.
Cork County Council have not yet responded to a query about locals’ concerns about the route, and one senior garda at Clonakilty garda station said he was not aware of the greenway’s existence, or any concerns about it causing a possible traffic hazard.