Landowners want Greenway in Walks Scheme
LANDOWNERS living along the Great Western Greenway have called on the government to show goodwill and include the walking and cycle route in the National Walks Scheme.
The call was made at the Great Western Greenway Landowner’s Committee AGM last week. The National Walks Scheme is under the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Many of the landowners are currently involved in the Burrishoole Walks Scheme, which is part of the National Walks Scheme, and as such they receive an annual renumeration for maintaining the walks for the public who use them.
Chairman of committee, Dr Jerry Cowley said the landowners are proud of the role they have played in the success of the Greenway, and they continue to work closely with Mayo County Council, South West Mayo Development Company and Fáilte Ireland.
However, the landowners had expected that the Greenway would operate on the same model as the Burrishoole Walks Scheme, and they were disappointed that this aspect had been ‘put on the back-burner’.
“How the Burrishoole model works is that the landowners themselves are directly involved in the daily maintenance of the walks in return for an annual payment to cover their time and effort.
“This works very well, as the landowners are already on site and are best placed to carry out essential repairs and maintenance in partnership with the Rural Social Scheme and South West Mayo Leader.
“There has been an expectation among the landowners that this would happen for the Great Western Greenway also. The landowners are certain that the inclusion of the Great Western Greenway in the National Walks Scheme is the one important task that remains for Government to complete, to secure the future of this important tourist highway into perpetuity. The large numbers of people already using the Great Western Greenway as a cycle route and walkway on a daily basis ensures that ongoing maintenance remains a high priority,” he said.
There are approximately 85 landowners in the Burrishoole Walks Scheme, and each get an average of €500 per year as part of the scheme. Dr Cowley said the money to include the Greenway in the walking scheme would be ‘small potatoes’ and he called on the Government to repay the goodwill the landowners have so far contributed to the ‘flagship’ Greenway.
“There is one man whom we know is in the best position to put this final piece of the jigsaw in place, and that’s our local Minister Michael Ring,” he said.