Garvan Cummins, who has been a campaigner in a voluntary capacity for the Greenway for many years, operates ‘The Greenway Man’ bike hire and tours based at Durrow.
Having devoted huge amounts of time to promoting the project down through the years, he went into business himself at the start of this year – but he now has to campaign to get his business listed on the official Waterford City & County Council Greenway website.
“I have been asking numerous times for the past six months to get listed but to no avail,” he explained.
“I purchased my first bikes from Willie Hogan of Lismore Cycling Holidays who was retiring and his entry was removed from the listing but it was not replaced by mine. On the back of the Waterford Greenway brochure, readers are encouraged to go to the website listing for bike hire. From a business point of view, it is paramount to being listed as it is the first port of call for anyone who picks up the very attractive Greenway brochure.”
Five other bike hire companies are listed prominently on the website.
Along with fellow members of the voluntary Déise Greenway group, Garvan was responsible for highlighting the huge potential which the Greenway would have and helped make the project a reality.
He devoted countless hours to travelling to collect signatures in support of the project and spreading awareness of the huge benefits which the project would provide for Waterford including through the high profile ‘Déise Greenway’ Facebook page.
However, Garvan says he doesn’t expected “preferential treatment”.
“I should not be given any preferential treatment considering my involvement in the Greenway campaign for many years, but when the opposite happens, you got to wonder,” he said.
Garvan, who has an in-depth knowledge of the Greenway and all of the areas along the route, has also offered his services in a voluntary capacity to Waterford City & County Council to offer bikes to journalists visiting Waterford.
He has offered to accompany them along the way and provide hospitality in order to sell the positives of the Waterford Greenway to a wider audience.
Garvan says this offer has not been taken up by the Council and has been given elsewhere.
Fáilte Ireland now use Garvan regularly to sell the Waterford Greenway to visiting journalists.
“I had a couple of German journalists updating the Bruckmann guide recently and a fortnight ago, I had a German journalist who contributes to the very influential Der Spiegel newspaper,” he explained.
Garvan brings visiting journalists for a meal in Dungarvan at the end of each cycle, showcasing local cuisine.
“Also the travel editor from the Irish Independent who I know from a few years back, Pol Ó Conghaile was down recently and we cycled part of the Greenway,” he explained.
“He wrote a superb piece on the National Geographic Traveller site last week and will follow this up with massive coverage in the Independent newspapers. Also, Ray D’Arcy and family were along to me in May and Ray went back on radio and TV raving about the Waterford Greenway and The Copper Coast which I got him to travel on coming from Dunmore East.”
Garvan says there is “major confusion” in relation to who operates the website www.waterfordgreenway.com .
“Many are under the illusion that this is the official Council’s website but this domain was bought a couple of years ago before Waterford Council could buy it,” he said.
“It was bought by a Kilkenny based business entity. According to The Irish Times, the businessman ‘in a sharp piece of business, bought the Internet domain waterfordgreenway.com for €6’. What was an excellent piece of business out of an individual was Waterford’s loss and Waterford Council had to purchase www.visitwaterfordgreenway.com despite attempts to try and retrieve the waterfordgreenway domain. But in an ironic twist, the business entity using the www.waterfordgreenway.com domain was listed in prime position on the bike hire listing on the official Council website for much of the year so far.”