New Ross Greenway can be “regional hub”

Brendan Keane reports

THE PROPOSED Greenway route between Waterford and New Ross will form a major regional hub in terms of the overall greenway tourism infrastructure in the south east, according to a senior figure involved with the project.
Director of Services with Wexford County Council, Eamonn Hore, said the new greenway, which will follow the path of the old disused railway line between the two urban centres, will be of major strategic importance in relation to the overall plan for the region.
Mr Hore, who is also the New Ross Municipal District Director, has attended numerous meetings with stakeholders in relation to the project including public representatives from Wexford, Kilkenny and Waterford.
However, some people have expressed concern over the plan with a number of residents along the route worried that their privacy might be affected along with concerns from farmers that the day-to-day workings of their farms could also be hit.

The residents in the Ard Glas estate, in Ferrybank, were among those who expressed concern over the project. In a submission made to Kilkenny County Council, they highlighted the fact that one of the proposed entry points to the Greenway is around 300 metres from the entrance to their estate.
“We are also impacted with the disused railway line to New Ross backing onto approximately one-third of the houses in our estate,” said the residents in a letter submitted during the public consultation process of the project.
They also expressed concerns over what plans are in place to combat anti-social behaviour while their privacy concerns are based around the proposed fencing that will be used. They are also among a number of people who fear their estate, or area, will be used for parking due to its close proximity to the Greenway.
Other issues raised, not just by the Ard Glas residents, but also other people living along or near the route include concerns over illegal dumping.

The development of the New Ross to Waterford Greenway would restore a historic link between town and city

The development of the New Ross to Waterford Greenway would restore a historic link between town and city

Farmers along the route have also expressed concerns with some expressing disappointment with the level of reference to farming and agriculture along the route and the potential risk to livelihoods. Those within the agricultural community say farmers should have right-of-way when crossing and should not be unduly held-up by pedestrians or cyclists.
Ecological studies of the route were finalised at the end of last year and New Ross was earmarked as the location for the South East Greenway Project office which is tasked with developing and implementing a regional strategy designed to take advantage of opportunities from recreational tourism.
The Greenway Project Office is a joint initiative between the five local authorities in the region. In addition to the main Greenway route to Waterford, Wexford County Council is also hoping to develop a second, inner Greenway, around New Ross which will utilise the old disused railway bridge over the Barrow in Mountgarrett and also an old tunnel – also in the same location.

Speaking about project, the South East Action Plan for Jobs (SEAPJ) Industry Champion for Tourism, Liam Griffin, said the Greenway project for the South East was the most exciting tourism project he’d ever seen in the region.
He said it has the potential to deliver results across many areas including job creation, rural development and connectivity.
Mr Griffin said the regional approach taken by the various agencies and councils should serve as a template for further actions to be implemented.
SEAPJ Director Sean McKeown, said recently that finalising Greenway projects in the region will still require around €32m in funding but that once complete there could be Greenway links from Rosslare to West Waterford and from New Ross to Waterford and St. Mullins.

It’s anticipated a Greenway/Blueway route will eventually link the south east with Dublin and west to the Shannon region.
That was something that Mr Hore also highlighted and said the Waterford to New Ross route would be pivotal in the overall plan.
“It would link New Ross to Waterford, and also to Dungarvan and from the opposite perspective it would also link Waterford to the potential Blueway route with St Mullins,” he said.

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