independent

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Greenway passion remains on track

Published 10/06/2014 | 05:40

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James Leonard at the unused railway line he wants to see turned into a greenway.

Now that the elections are over, those who were successful are being urged to get aboard the bandwagon. The Greenway bandwagon, that is.

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It's something Greenway enthusiast James Leonard of Tubbercurry is passionate about.

He said: "I drive 60 miles to cycle the Great Western Greenway in Mayo.

"People need to educate themselves about the benefits of Greenways.

"It's a win-win situation."

James desperately wants to see the old Sligo to Galway railway line, which runs through Tubbercurry, turned into a Greenway for cyclists and walkers.

He believes it could be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area.

He said: "Key people who did a lot of work, got to the brink of reopening it as a railway line.

"Now, developing a Greenway is a good way to preserve the railway until it can be reopened as a working line.

"On May 15th, the government announced €10m for Greenways.

"There is €4m of it to complete the Greenway from Athlone to Mullingar.

"By my reckoning on those figures, it costs on average €90,700 per kilometre to convert the line into a walkway."

James said the reason the railway line will not be reopened is because it's not sustainable at present.

But he insisted a Greenway is sustainable and therefore very attractive for European funding.

He continued: "Just last week, it was announced in Ballina that there was €250,000 to start its Greenway along the Moy.

"That is one of 10 projects so when are we going to get on the train?"

James described Tubbercurry as "pivotal" to the success of the railway line as a Greenway.

He said: "What I am looking for is a change of mind about a Greenway.

"Let's talk about it.

"Now that the election is out of the way, there is a window before the next election for people to come together and show support for it.

"I appeal to the new councillors to take this on board.

"If people sit on something and hold it back, it's shameful."

Sligo Champion

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