Saturday 16 December 2017

Fingal 'Greenway' can generate major tourism revenue

Senator James Reilly at Skerries Mills
Senator James Reilly at Skerries Mills

John Manning

A so-called 'Greenway' cycle and pedestrian route between Skerries and Balbriggan has the potential to generate a huge income from tourism.

That is the view of Senator James Reilly who has repeated his call for the long-planned Greenway to be constructed.

Welcoming recent investment from the Government in cycling infrastructure in Fingal, Senator Reilly said it was now time to progress the Skerries to Balbriggan Greenway and he cited Fáilte Ireland figures to back up his case.

Seantor Reilly said: 'Figures available from Fáilte Ireland reveal that in 2014, close to 1.2million visitors to Ireland took part in hiking or cross country walking.

'These activity tourists spent in the region of €915 million in the Irish economy during their stay. Similar statistics reveal that 286,000 visitors took part in cycling activities with a related spend of some €268 million.

'These two sectors combined generated revenue for the Irish economy in the region of €1.2 billion in 2014.'

Senator Reilly added: 'I welcome the announcement of grants for the Martello Tower in Skerries, Ardgillan Castle, Martello Tower in Howth and a cycling safety promotion grant under strand one of the Rural Infrastructure Grants announced by Minister Michael Ring.

'I look forward to further announcements in the autumn under strand two of the scheme and I hope Fingal County Council have sought funding under these schemes assuming they are applicable to Fingal.'

Senator Reilly explained: 'Fingal has great potential, for a Coast and Castleway cycling and walking route and it will take sustained determined effort to make that a reality.

'Fingal County Council have already completed the necessary work for the Balbriggan to Barnageeragh Skerries Route and I encourage them to focus on the final leg of that route and come up with a comprehensive plan to link Skerries to Ardgillan Castle along the Balbriggan Coastal road and onward then to Balbriggan.'

He added: 'I note progress has been made on the Malahide to Donabate cycling and walking Greenway across the estuary via the train tracks and that a planning application to Bord Pleanala is imminent. I welcome the progress on linking up Newbridge Demesne and Malahide Castle.'

But Senator Reilly thinks the Greenway should extend further and potentially link most of the Fingal coast to the city. He said: 'I would support Fingal County Council in drawing up a feasibility study to link Skerries, Loughshinny, Rush and Lusk to Donabate, completing the link all the way to Malahide, providing a 'Super Greenway' from Balbriggan to Malahide and onward into Dublin.'

Fingal Independent

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