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Calls to connect Shannon & Ennis off-road to complement West Clare Greenway

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An off-road greenway connecting Shannon Town and the Airport with Ennis has been mooted to add to the West Clare Greenway, plans of which continue to progress.

A meeting between Clare County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has been requested by elected representatives of the local authority. The premise of such a get-together would “determine the feasibility of using the existing land corridor on either side of the M18 between Shannon and Ennis to create an off-road greenway” connecting Shannon and Ennis.

Councillors believed a meeting between the bodies would assess all legal, technical and environmental challenges that may stand between the project progressing. “We further request the Council contact TII with regards to ensuring the addition of such an off road greenway be included in the design and land procurement phases for the new M20 connecting Limerick with Cork,” the motion from Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) and Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) read.

Senior engineer, John Leahy told elected representatives that they would be given due time to feed into the consultation process of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) which is being prepared by the National Transport Authority (NTA). He stated that he would bring the highlighted requests to the NTA’s attention. “When the LSMATS is finalised we will meet with the various government bodies and relevant parties in order to progress and support proposed projects to be delivered” under the strategy.

Opening of Greenways is “fraught with difficulties and legal challenges,” Cllr Murphy commented. He referred to the green sites on either side of the M18 between Ennis and Shannon. “It could connect with the future West Clare Greenway,” he said.

“A lot of the policies we have in Ireland are reactive. A project like this gives an opportunity to use the existing roadway. It is very important piece of work that could be done,” Cllr Hayes believed.

Avid cyclist, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) highlighted the “beautiful run” through Shannon by Drumline past Carrygerry on towards Ballygirreen and into Clarecastle that is enjoyed by local cyclists. “It is spectacular down there,” he added.

It is not the first time such a discussion took place, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) advised the meeting. “It makes perfect sense,” the Shannon representative outlined. “There is no reason why it shouldn’t happen”. He called for more smarter travel within the town.

Shannon’s cycling infrastructure was praised by Cllr Roisin Garvey (GP), “Gerry mustn’t be on the bike too often, Shannon is very cyclable so you would want to get on the bike Gerry. The existing road network is there on old Shannon Rd”.

Flynn clarified that he was talking about the safety aspects by schools in the town and rebuked the Inagh native for her comments. “Cllr Garvey doesn’t know nothing about me, I have cycled the length of Ireland. When you are making personal statements, please be factual”.

Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) added, “Shannon is great for cycle paths. It gives great pleasure to cycle safely”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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