Galway Roscommon Senator Maura Hopkins has called for the public office for the Athlone to Galway Greenway project, to be located in Ballinasloe.

Senator Hopkins stated, “I recently met with Transport Infrastructure Ireland in relation to this Greenway development. I emphasised strongly to TII the importance of ensuring that proper engagement and consultation takes place with local communities and stakeholders in the development of this project. TII have informed me that a public project office is to be set up for this project and I have strongly put forward the case for Ballinasloe to be the location for this.”

“It is essential that communities are engaged with at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that we can achieve the greatest possible support for this development.”

Senator Hopkins continued, “Over €5 million has been provided to progress this project in 2019. This funding is very positive and will ensure that this project is given a renewed priority. It will allow for the construction of the railway underpass in Athlone, which is nearing completion at present. It will allow plans to progress the bridge over the Shannon close to Athlone castle and will allow for the appointment of dedicated staff for the delivery of the overall Athlone to Galway Greenway project.”

“It is essential that this project can proceed to planning at the earliest possible opportunity. However, this cannot happen in a vacuum. The mistakes of the past must not be repeated. I will continue to work closely with TII and engage with local stakeholders and communities regarding concerns and issues as they arise.”

“This project has the potential to be the flagship tourism offering for Ballinasloe and the wider region. It will play a central role in the connection between the Beara Breifne Way and linking this region into the New Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Tourism brand.”

“In particular, the Athlone to Ballinasloe section of this greenway has so much to offer in terms of tourism development. The wake house at Nure, the Clonmacnoise monastic site, Shannonbridge as well as the wealth of history which exists in Ballinasloe itself, all should be key sites of interest on this national greenway route.”

“We have seen how greenway development can revive communities through the examples in Waterford and Mayo and I want to see Ballinasloe and this region benefit fully from that potential.”

Senator Hopkins concluded, “ I am pleased to see the level of progress on this project since I first raised the issue in 2017.  The delivery of this project will take some time. It is very positive that funding has been provided and works have now restarted on this project. I will continue to work with TII to ensure this flagship project is delivered for this region.”