FUNDING has been allocated for a feasibility study for a walking and cycle route from Cork to Schull, that could be a game-changer for tourism in West Cork, similar to the hugely successful Waterford and Mayo greenways.
At a recent meeting of the local authority, councillors were informed that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has allocated €100,000 for a feasibility study to look into developing a greenway from Cork to Schull on some parts of the old West Cork railway line, which closed in 1961.
And while it may be a long-term plan for a full Cork to Schull route, director of services (road and transportation) Padraig Barrett said that he hopes to see sections of it delivered in the short-term.
Funding of €100,000 is also being allocated to carry out a feasibility study for a greenway from Cork to Kinsale, while a similar amount in funding has also been allocated for a feasibility study for a ‘Lee to Sea’ greenway which would go from Macroom through Dripsey and on to Farran.
Mr Barrett said the overall allocation of €5.1m in funding for greenways in Cork county is a welcome stream of funding and could have significant benefits for rural Cork.
‘These studies will look to see if these old railway lines can be bought back into use as greenways. Because of TII funding, there is now a national focus on greenways,’ he said.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) welcomed the feasibility study for a West Cork greenway and Mr Barrett also agreed with suggestions from councillors that greenways must be safe and secure and that lighting should be installed along the routes.
While welcoming the funding, Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) felt that they have ‘gone half daft’ on the concept of greenways.
‘It seems they are making money freely available for greenways and while they are welcome, we have gone over the top and other strategic areas should be looked at, ‘ said Cllr Murphy.
Mr Barrett also noted that in most cases the ownership of the old railway lines lies with private landowners and not with Cork County Council or the State.