THE group behind a campaign to support the Great Southern Trail (GST) has taken issue with a recent statement from Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan who credited an rise in visitor numbers in Newcastle West to “the opening of the Limerick Greenway last year”.
A spokesperson for the the Greenway volunteers said that the Minister “must surely aware that the Greenway is in existence for many years”.
“The GST was the name given by officialdom to the Greenway project over 30 years ago. Sadly, when officialdom was challenged by objectors to the Greenway, they abandoned the project, leaving the first Greenway in Ireland as an apparently lost cause.
“However, the GST voluntary group was formed in 1991 and with great public support the project was rejuvenated. Short sections were developed and were gradually connected to each other.
“The volunteers and their supporters visited, at their own expense, many Greenways throughout Europe as part of their learning curve. They also hosted visitors and groups from abroad and became affiliated to the European Greenways Association.
“Gradually the public servants came on board again but it was the voluntary Great Southern Trail group which managed the Greenway, and after years of endeavour oversaw the completion of the route from the Kerry Border to Rathkeale in 2013.
“In 2015, the volunteers handed over management to Limerick City and County Council, who subsequently changed the name of the facility to the Limerick Greenway.