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Ring announces €800,000 for Greenway developments


ON THEIR BIKESPictured cycling on the Castlebar Turlough Greenway after last week’s funding announcement was Minister Michael Ring with Orla Carroll, Director of Strategic Development with Fáilte Ireland and local children from Scoil Raifteirí, Tegan O’Reilly, Joseph Mandel and Emma Keane. Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

Anton McNulty

A footbridge over the Owenmore River, connecting Ballycroy with Mount Jubilee, will be the ‘missing link’ in attracting tourist to Erris, according to a local councillor.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD announced last week national funding of €11 million for 78 outdoor recreation infrastructure projects, with €800,000 allocated for four projects in Mayo.
Two of the projects allocated funding included €200,000 for upgrade of the Bangor Trail and an Erris-access footbridge and €200,000 for the construction of a 39-metre long footbridge at Achill Sound as part of the Achill Greenway.
Erris-based councillor Gerry Coyle welcomed the funding for the Bangor Trail and said the proposed Erris-access footbridge will open up the region for tourist.
“This bridge is the missing link in bring people to Erris,” he told The Mayo News. “The design of the bridge that is envisaged will be unbelievable … you will have people coming down just to cycle across the bridge alone. It will open up the area with people able to cycle from the National Park and into Mount Jubilee and Geesala and onto Belmullet.
“Tourism is the only hope we have to make a livelihood where we live and we have to embrace it. If it is wilderness people want, we have plenty of it here,” he said.
The funding for the footbridge will be for the planning and design stage and when that is complete, applications will be made to get funding to construct it. Cllr Coyle also praised the work of Pádraig Philbin and the tourism office of Mayo County Council.
The allocation of funding for the completion of a section of the Achill Greenway in Achill Sound means that work will shortly begin on the construction of a 39-metre long footbridge linking the Greenway with the recently opened Saula Way.
John Sweeney, a member of the Achill Community Futures committee, welcomed the funding and hoped this section of the Greenway will be open to the public by the summer.
“We are delighted with the funding because it means the Greenway will now continue on to the island and link up with the Saula Way. If all goes well, it should be open to the public by the summer which will be great news for visitors and locals alike. The next phase will be then to bring it to Cashel and eventually continue all the way down to Keel,” he said.
Minister Ring also allocated €200,000 for the work along the existing Greenway at Turlough and Kilmeena and €200,000 for the The Bowers Walk in Ballinrobe.
“The continued development of our recreational infrastructure will not only support Ireland’s developing rural tourism industry, but will also provide better recreation options for local people and families for their own enjoyment of the countryside,” Minister Ring said at the National Museum of Country Life at Turlough House.
Head of Tourism for Mayo County Council, Pádraig Philbin, also welcomed the funding announcement.
“It’s important we continue to stay ahead of the game in marking Mayo out as a great tourist destination and the works which will go into the four projects will ensure that. These schemes would only be possible thanks to local landowners and we are grateful for their continued support,” he said.