Minister Dempsey officially opens the Newport to Mulranny Greenway
A new €1.6 million off-road cycling and walking route, was officially opened today by the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD. The 17.5km route was developed by Mayo County Council and is located along the line of the former Midland Great Western Railway line. The route was funded primarily by the Department of Transport, with additional monies made available through Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
The new route was developed in an effective partnership by Mayo County Council with local landowners and community groups and delivered within six months. It is an excellent example of Government Departments, agencies, local authority and the local community working together. In particular, the local landowners along the route of abandoned rail line deserve credit for their central role in the project. It is their vision and generosity that resulted in the delivery of this world-class cycle route.
There is further potential to develop the route from Mulranny to Achill Sound and from Newport to Westport, which would increase the route to 42km resulting in a route of international significance, that takes in some of the most scenic locations along the western Atlantic and linking the route to Westport town itself.
Speaking today Minister Dempsey said: “I believe that the Newport-Mulranny route offers a vision of the future. People from all over Ireland can make use of this world-class route and I am sure it will act as a catalyst for other routes to be developed all across the country. Not only will this remove the barriers in peoples’ minds when it comes to cycling, it will greatly increase the attractiveness of Ireland as a tourism destination, and create jobs in local economies.”
Ethna Murphy, head of Leisure Tourism at Fáilte Ireland welcomed the new route, saying: “The development of this quality cycling infrastructure will ensure that all in the region are in a position to capitalise on this lucrative market, in addition to adding value to the domestic holiday experience. Holidaymakers, engaging in active pursuits in Ireland, spent more than €1 billion in 2008 with almost a million overseas visitors engaging in activities such as walking, cycling, equestrian pursuits and water based activities. These were high value overseas tourists generating spend levels 40% higher than the average visitor.”
The Minister concluded by highlighting the important role of local landowners in facilitating the delivery of this world-class route. He said: “Without the commitment and goodwill of local landowners, this project would not have progressed beyond a line on a map. This goodwill means that one of the best leisure amenities in our country is right on your doorstep. It also means that many other people will get to experience the beautiful landscape of the area as they cycle and enjoy the new route.”