The East Coast Greenway Committee has expressed its disappointment in the lack of progress on the proposed cycle route that would connect Wicklow Town to Greystones.
Despite broad support from Wicklow’s TDs, the project missed out on funding that 26 new and existing greenway and cycling projects around the country received this year.
Chairperson of the East Coast Greenway Committe, Ciaran Lally told Wicklownews.net that they are appealing for help from the Government to move the project forward.
Mr Lally’s full statement is as follows:
“We warmly welcome the increased funding allocated to Greenway’s around the country. In particular, we would like to congratulate the Blessington Greenway committee on the significant allocation of €6.4m announced today. They have worked very hard for a number of years to secure this funding, and we are delighted to see their efforts finally rewarded.
“As a committee, we are extremely disappointed with the lack of progress on the East Coast Greenway to link Wicklow Town and Greystones. W.S. Atkins submitted a very favourable feasibility study report to Wicklow County Council well over a year ago, along with a follow up sand dune survey.
“The next stage is to prepare an Environmental Impact study (EIS) as part of a full planning application. We believe that the planning application preparation will take 18-24 months, so every delay only adds to the time involved to see this project to fruition. Wicklow County Council do not have the funds required to move the project forward, so we are urging help from Government.
“We have been in constant contact with all Wicklow TD’s for over three years now and have spoken to them all in the recent weeks and months, to plead with them to help Wicklow County Council secure the funding to progress the EIS planning application. It is extremely frustrating to see greenway’s being progressed all over the country, while the East Coast Greenway continues to be left behind.
“Our TD’s are broadly supportive of the project (of course assuming no negative environmental impact), but we need to see decisive action and funding allocated . The people of Wicklow are extremely supportive of the project and want to see it happen – as evidenced by the fact that over 16,000 people have signed our petition – but are getting frustrated at the pace of progress.
“As somebody stopped me on the street recently to ask about progress said – if a greenway in Mayo or Kerry was looking for support, and they had two Senior Cabinet members in their constituency like we have, not only would they have the funding in place – the damn thing would already be built.
“We really hope our local Ministers and TD’s can get behind the project with positive actions and not just positive soundbites. The economic and health benefits to all towns and villages along the route are beyond question. It is time for action.”