Funding deadline for two Greenways
THE BIG ASK: COUNCIL TO FORMALLY APPLY FOR FUNDS FOR GREENWAYS
IT is incumbent on Sligo County Council to do all it can to help two Greenway projects in Sligo get their share of a €53 million national Greenway Fund.
That’s the view of both Sinn Féin Councillor Chris MacManus and Fianna Fáil Councillor Tom MacSharry who both tabled motions at this month’s County Council meeting looking for an update on the projects.
The two potential Greenway opportunities in Sligo are the Sligo/Leitrim/Northern Counties railway Greenway (SLNCR) and the 35kmWestern Greenway between Collooney and Bellaghy.
Members heard from Acting Director of Services Margaret McConnell that Sligo County Council intends to take the lead in making two applications to the 2019-2021 Greenway Fund.
Applications opened on 24 th August and will close on 30 th November.
“Work is ongoing in the background with Mayo and Leitrim County Councils. We will have two applications in,” said McConnell.
“I welcome that,” said Cllr MacManus. “If the abandoned rail lines are not being used it’s incumbent on us that we are going to apply for funding on lasting projects,” he said.
“I also welcome the report,” said Cllr MacSharry.
“I’m delighted. When there is such goodwill from Leitrim and Cavan, it’s incumbent on us to do our part. Brexit is coming and tourism businesses are still struggling so I welcome that two applications will be made,” he told the meeting.
Independent Councillor Marie Casserly said many new jobs will be created by the Greenways and stressed the importance of “getting every business along the route to co-operate with the submission.”
“We’re not going to get the Intels (coming here) but we can attract tourists,” she said.
Independent Councillor Declan Bree said he supported Cllr Tom MacSharry regarding the northern Greenway from Sligo to Dromahair.
“I feel the Sligo to Enniskillen Greenway is important and it could draw down funds,” he told members.
“The fact that Leitrim had the lowest number of tourists and with Brexit coming, will assist in getting funds,” he said.
The meeting heard that the Council is currently working with Leitrim County Council on the northern Greenway on getting access to lands, selecting the route, considering the environment and organising planning.
For the other Greenway in South Sligo, Sligo Greenway Co-op held a breakfast briefing in Curry recently to give local business in South Sligo an opportunity to show their support for the Greenway there.
Business were asked to pledge funds to help meet essential costs that will be involved in the funding application process to Government. The Sligo Greenway is expected to cost €5.3 million which has an estimated payback time of just two years for the region.