A 4.5km walking trail in East Clare is set to be finished by the end of November according to local authority officials.
Funded to the value of €498,000 through the Outdoor Recreation Fund in 2018, the Bealkelly to Tuamgraney Amenity Trail is a 4.5km pedestrian route linking both areas through an existing route from Ogonnelloe to Killaloe. Match funding worth €124,500 was given by Clare County Council with planning permission granted last year.
An additional €220,000 was received in the Active Travel Fund as part of the Government’s July Stimulus Plan. This extra funding is to be used for adding an improved surface ride with lower maintenance requirements. The input of Tuamgraney Development Association and the Ogonnelloe Community Group was acknowledged by local representatives.
Progress of the works were sought by Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) at a meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District. A completion date at the end of November is the target, senior executive engineer Tom Mellett responded. There is no intention to increase the width of the footpath, he confirmed.
Tenders are currently under assessment, Mellett advised. He said that 1.5km has been completed to gravel finish with a further 500m in preparation with work ongoing “on accommodation works to landowners boundaries where they have been affected by the trail”.
Cooney welcomed the update as “very positive news”. He stated, “It looks like we will have a good walking trail all the way from Killaloe to Tuamgraney which is very good”. Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) believed, “It is going to be a fantastic asset for East Clare. A walkway from Killaloe to Tuamgraney is a fantastic selling point with the many spur points off it, this is a huge investment in the infrastructure of East Clare”.
Completing the walking trail would provide “a fantastic piece of infrastructure for East Clare,” Cllr Pat Burke (FG) felt. “We hear about Greenways and bigger projects nationwide, this on its own is a major project, it might not have the status of a Greenway but for the benefit of locals and tourists alike it is huge,” he added. Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) added, “It is a shining example of working together to get things done”.
All funding on the project has to be spent by November, the meeting was informed. Acting senior executive officer, Morgan Lahiffe outlined, “The deadline is looming on us for the end of November. We would like to finish out this path in its entirety. It will have to be reviewed closer to the time to see how we are doing with money”.