Extra funding is considered for Greenway

Area along the potential greenway. Pic: Richard Webb

Sligo Champion

The project which aims to develop a greenway on the disused rail route from Sligo to the border is being considered for significant funding from the €500 million Shared Island fund.

The Shared Island initiative was announced in the 2021 budget and aims to harness cooperation, connection, and mutual understanding between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The greenway project was previously allocated a €500,000 grant in July 2020, and recently an additional €1 million was allotted to further advance the Sligo Leitrim Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) Greenway.

Cllr. Declan Bree said that he welcomes the grant and that the development of the Greenway “along the old rail route connecting Collooney, with Ballintogher, Dromahair, Glenfarne, Blacklion and Enniskillen, will have a significant economic benefit for the entire region.”

He said that funding received so far “will now allow for the necessary documentation and plans to be prepared and submitted to go through the planning process on both sides of the border.”

“A cost benefit analysis carried out a number of years ago indicated that the completed greenway would boost spending in the region by almost €7 million in the first year,” he said.

“Given the fact that it is a cross border Greenway with 18 kilometres of the route located in Fermanagh, obviously adds to the significance and importance of the project.”

Cllr. Bree added that last year An Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that €500 million was earmarked for shared island projects and that he referred to three specific projects, “the Narrow Water Bridge, the Ulster Canal and the Sligo-Enniskillen Greenway.”

“Hopefully, if planning permission can be approved for the project before the end of the current year, we might see construction work commence on the greenway early next year.”

“Converting this disused railway route into a cross-border multi-use trail for cyclists and walkers has been an objective of this Council.”

These sentiments were supported by a number of councillors including Tom MacSharry who stated he had recently met with “colleagues in Leitrim” and that there has been a lot of work done “across the board” on this project.

Cllr. Sinead Maguire welcomed the “fantastic project” and said she knows from her time as chair of Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) that it will have huge benefits structurally and recreational for all the regions.

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