2023 Active Travel Allocation described as systemically anti-Rural Wicklow

Cllr John Mullen

Wicklow Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Baltinglass Municipal District John Mullen has strongly condemned the €8.4 million 2023 Active Travel Allocation for County Wicklow’s footpath and cycleway infrastructure as “systemically anti-rural and totally unfair as our villages and towns are excluded once again”

“Following the 2022 allocation of Active Travel funding for footpath and cycle ways I pointed out that Wicklow’s rural villages and towns had been excluded with our own engineering area of Baltinglass receiving zero from the then €9 million allocation to the County, even though we had applied for over €2 million of viable and vital projects”

“At a subsequent meeting of Wicklow County Council I raised this unjustifiable allocation for the rural towns and villages in Wicklow and the then Chief Executive Brian Gleeson committed to addressing this discrepancy and did secure an additional fund exclusively for rural towns and villages. It was also agreed that future Active Travel allocations would work to ensure fairness in the distribution of projects that are funded.”

“It was with shock and anger that I read this morning’s allocation to County Wicklow under Active Travel where a paltry €220K has been awarded to the entire Baltinglass MD out of a fund of €8.4 million. There has been no funding for any active travel project in most of the rural towns and villages in Wicklow such as Carnew, Tinahely, Roundwood, and Aughrim.”

“The Active Travel Fund is systemically discriminating against the rural towns and villages in Ireland and Wicklow where there are urgent footpath and cycle ways needed to protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. All four Dublin Council received a total of €123.6 million, while the entire County of Wicklow receives €8.4 the vast majority of which is being spent in Bray, Greystones, Wicklow and Arklow.”

“I have requested a special meeting of our District next week to discuss how we can bring some fairness to this completely unfair allocation. When Minister Eamon Ryan visited Wicklow County Council late last year I and other Cllrs argued for the urgent need for a pedestrian bridge in Baltinglass which he agreed was needed to address serious safety concerns. The allocation of €50,000 towards a “report” is frankly an insult to that request.”

“There is no TD from outside Bray and Greystones since the election in 2020 and this lack of national representation is resulting in the completely unfair delivery of limited resources. Rural Wicklow will be asked to bear the brunt of climate change measures but instead of being compensated we are faced with continued discrimination. It’s time for rural areas to shout stop.”

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