THE Department of Rural and Community Development has granted €500,000 for the construction of a safe pedestrian and cycle path that will link the village of Glengarriff to the local nature reserve.
‘This is vital for the development of tourism in Glengarriff because the nature reserve is the best free amenity we have,’ the chairman of the Glengarriff Tourism and Development Association, Chris Harrington, told The Southern Star.
‘An estimated 60,000 people visit the nature reserve every year. Everyone who stays at our local hotels and guesthouses goes there and a new, safe path can only enhance it as a visitor attraction,’ he said.
The chairman pointed out that the hugely popular Beara-Breifne Way starts in the woods and that people have to walk along the road to access it. ‘This will be the final link in the chain,’ he added.
The funding from the department’s outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme is in addition to the €100,000 which was allocated for the design of the proposed link.
At a meeting of the Western Committee last January, the director of roads Padraig Barrett said land acquisition might be required and that the footpath might need retaining works.
The €100,000 was to cover the cost of a site investigation, and other works, which were needed before the Council could proceed with a Part 8 planning application. Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said: ‘This will alleviate the serious safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists on this dangerous stretch of road.’
Cllr Murphy thanked the area engineers, Ruth O’Brien and Aidan Prendergast, for drawing up the plans and for pushing the proposal forward with the safety section of Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said locals, including the tourism and development association, and public representatives, had been campaigning for this for years, but the €500,000 will see the job done.
TD Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) added: ‘This will be a huge boost to a region that depends so heavily on tourism, and it will have spin-off economic benefits for the area.’ The Cork South West Green Party also welcomed the news. ‘This will provide an excellent outdoor recreation facility for everyone in the locality,’ said the local party representative Rory Jackson.