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Greenway office to open in New Ross

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A regional Greenway office manned by up to three people is being opened in New Ross as New Ross and Piltown councils prepare to progress the initiative.

Director of Services with Kilkenny County Council, Mary Mulholland said the office has opened and a senior engineer has been appointed to oversee the project.

Ms Mulholland said planning is being advanced for the 24km Waterford to New Ross route, which is expected to connect with a 5km looped route taking in the Red Bridge and Mount Elliott.

'We are looking at resourcing that office as soon as possible with engineers from Kilkenny County Council and Wexford County Council as a regional office that will take the project forward to deal with its design and finances.'

Mr Hore said as many as three people will be based in the office. He said: 'It demonstrates the seriousness of what we propose to put in place,' adding that the government has yet to put in place a national greenway strategy, and until that time funding for the project will not be advanced.

A feasibility study is being carried out on a greenway route from New Ross to St Mullins. Mr Hore said the plan is to have a greenway from Dungarvan to Dublin, from where a greenway will stretch to the west coast. He said funding of €100m is planned to be allocated to this.

A Part 8 planning process has been approved for the Wexford part of the greenway and similar planning will be sought this summer or in the early autumn for the Kilkenny part.

Ms Mulholland said there were around 80 submissions concerning the greenway from residents living near the planned route, (which is on the old rail line), in south Kilkenny, adding that a report on these should be available in September.

Ms Mulholland said: 'We are working through them. The majority of the route lies in Kilkenny, about 22 km.'

Issues raised include access at Ferrybank, Waterford, agricultural access and parking at access points.

'Some issues were raised about the route selection so we need to get an engineer's report. Some of them are significant issues for people who took the time to make the submissions. It's in everyone's interest that we deal with everyone's concerns as quickly as we can.'

She said the greenway would bring huge positives to the area.

Cllr Patrick Dunphy said it is important to keep the momentum going following the recent opening of the highly successful Dungarvan to Waterford greenway.

Ms Mulholland said that greenway took many years to open. 'I think we have been very thorough. We're going through the planning phases and that should make the detailed designs for the greenway run as easy as possible for landowners and for everyone involved. Wexford will be taking the lead on submissions for funding but we do need to have a well planned project before we can stand it up with funding proposals.'

Mr Hore said he is hopeful of a funding announcement for the greenway in late 2017 or early next year. 'A lot of the Part 8 process is in place so that won't take too much longer. We made an application to Fáilte Ireland for the entire greenway for around €6m. If anyone here has any influence (with government) they might light a fire under it.'

Cllr Oisin O'Connell lamented the erection of posters attracting tourists to the Wild Atlantic Way on the N25, adding that he hopes posters championing the sunny south east are being put up on the west coast. He said the greenway has enormous tourism potential for the region.

Ms Mulholland said many people across the country want to see the next phase of the greenway, coming through New Ross, opened as quickly as possible. Cllr Tomás Breathnach said a combined funding application could be made from all counties in the south east considering the greenway's tourism potential. Mr Hore agreed that this was a good idea and 'would be a big help'


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