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*Cllr Cillian Murphy, Cathaoirleach, West Clare Municipal District; Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council; Leonard Cleary, Director, West Clare Municipal District; Seán Lenihan, Senior Engineer, Clare County Council; Eoin O’Cathain, Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers; Carmel Kirby, Director of Physical Development, Clare County Council; and Cllr Joe Killeen, Leas Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council. Photograph: Eamon Ward.

Consultants have been appointed for the Kilrush to Kilkee section of the West Clare Greenway.

Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers have been given the task of progressing the options, route selection, design and assessment phases of the first section of the Greenway between Kilrush and Kilkee via Moyasta.

Economic, social, health and environmental benefits for the county are predicted as part of the Greenway’s development. Clare County Council’s project management office are leading the project.

Should no legal challenges arise, 2025 is the expected completion date of the Greenway which is to span a distance of 110 to 115km.

Benefits can arise to everyone living in and visiting Clare as a result of the West Clare Railway Greenway, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) maintained.

Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling stated, “Greenways provide health and wellbeing benefits for people in rural communities, and can contribute to the local economy through increased tourism”. Director of Physical Development with the local authority, Carmel Kirby added, “The Greenway will further enhance Clare’s outstanding tourism offering, while also providing a new recreational facility to people living in the county”.

Engagement with landowners, the public and community interest groups will be carried out in the coming weeks, senior engineer Seán Lenihan advised. “We have a long road ahead of us but it is absolutely wonderful to get to this stage. We are also currently preparing the tender documents for the next section between Ennis and Ennistymon via Corofin before moving on to the final section connecting Ennistymon to Moyasta via Miltown Malbay, so it is all go. The project does have its challenges, however, and its success will depend on cooperation and collaboration between all parties involved, but we are committed to working with all affected parties to ensure a positive outcome. While the proposed route safeguarded in the County Development Plan is along the old railway line, we fully accept that, for the most part, this is in private ownership and many people have built homes, sheds, yards, etc., along the line or very close to it over the years.

“Others have levelled embankments and reclaimed their land, but we are absolutely committed to working with landowners in the area to find a mutually acceptable route. I have said many times that while trains had to run in straight lines, walkers and cyclists do not, so we are quite open to moving the route in or out or to the edge of a field so as not to interfere with property or farming practices”.

Interested parties can contact the Council’s project management office at 065-682 1616 or by email at pmoadmin@clarecoco.ie

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