THE Great Southern Trail Ltd say they are “extremely disappointed” with a decision by councillors in West Limerick to reject plans to extend the 40km greenway by a mere 3km to enable a link from Rathkeale to Ballingrane Junction.
The board of directors for Great Southern Trail Ltd has rejected as a “spurious excuse” an announcement by Cathaoirleach of Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District, Cllr Richard O’Donoghue that a decision was arrived at to save money due to a short section of the 3km requiring realignment during the next 10 years to facilitate the new road link to Foynes.
“Any lands necessary for this new road project will be acquired and compensation paid by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) without any cost to Limerick Council,” a statement from GST claimed.
“The six local councillors appear oblivious to the considerable time and money spent by their officials in planning/consultation for the extension which would have protected the State-owned corridor from interference and immediately provided a safe walking/cycling path between Rathkeale and Cappagh, along with quiet byroad links for cyclists to Adare.
“They also did not consider that there is an active fibre optic cable under this route which will also be costly to relocate, in the advent of a new road, irrespective of it being covered by a pathway or not.”
The GST directors went on to question the need for the six area councillors of Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District to have held two private and “lengthy meetings” if finance was there only concern.
“We ask is their real reason for secrecy resulting from their being lobbied by a small group of objectors? Instead of dealing openly with the concerns, arguments and old fears, which have been shown to be without basis in the existing Greenway, these closed doors meetings have added nothing but confusion and unnecessary delay to this vital piece of tourism infrastructure for Limerick West.
“The Rathkeale district councillors have a particular responsibility not just to the communities of Cappagh, Ballingrane and Rathkeale but to all the communities along the full length of the Greenway and to the citizens of Limerick, Patrickswell and Adare who would love to use this facility.”
The Great Southern Trail Ltd is now calling on the six local representatives for the area to review their “hesitant stand on the Greenway”.
There was no response from Limerick City and County Council or local area councillors at the time of going to print.
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