Bright hopes for the future as Oldbridge boardwalk opened
THE NEW Oldbridge Boardwalk will be a financial and employment goldmine for the region.
That was certainly the hope as the €800,000 project was officially opened by Junior Minister Alan Kelly last week, who said the department expect a bigger return than even at the Mayo Greenway which led to the creation of 40 jobs as a result.
'The potential is massive because of the location. It's close to the airport and the Belfast link and we are fortunate to have Oldbridge House too. I've been looking forward to coming here to see this,' he said.
Chairman of Meath County Council John V. Farrelly revealed that €82,000 had been given by the National Transport Authority towards the planning for the next phase of the project – Oldbridge to Bru na Boinne.
Ultimately, it's planned that the walk and cycleway will extend from Drogheda to Trim, via Slane.
'This will create many hundreds of jobs along the route in the future,' he added.
The Drogheda to Oldbridge walk is now 1.9km and a number of agencies had played their part, including Meath CC, the department, OPW, NTA, Louth CC, Drogheda Borough Council, Boyne Navigation Inland Waterways, An Taisce and other consultants.
'Nothing can compare with the Boyne Valley for myths and legends,' said Cllr. Farrelly.
Joe Fahy from Meath CC who addressed the gathering initially said the development had the potential to be the best 'greenway in Europe' simply because of its landscape and history.
Minister Fergus O'Dowd said the boardwalk was an amazing facility.
'The opening of the first section of the Boyneside Trail will do so much for Drogheda and the Boyne Valley as a tourist attraction, as well as providing a fantastic amenity for locals.
'This was one of the fantastic ideas to come from the Local Heroes projects, and one that I have supported from the off.'
He said he will continue to urge development of the proposed Mornington to Drogheda cycleway. Representatives of that group also attended on the day.
Cllr. Pio Smith has also added his voice to a walkway from Drogheda to Baltray, remarking that it would be a wonderful addition to the region too.