*A section of the West Clare Greenway

CONSTRUCTION on the €80m West Clare Railway Greenway is anticipated to start during the course of the next Council term and will be one of the biggest projects for West Clare.

In total, the West Clare Railway Greenway is set to span 85km and is split into the four sections. These include, Ennis to Ennistymon, Ennistymon to Miltown Malbay, Miltown Malbay to Moyasta and Kilrush to Kilkee.

An opening date of 2025 had previously been set by Council officials in 2022 but last June revised estimates were detailed were it was outlined that the local authority intends to submit an application to An Bord Pleanála by 2024 with the potential of starting construction by 2027.

Candidates in the Kilrush local electoral area were questioned by The Clare Echo on what their stance is on the proposed Greenway.

Of the thirteen candidates, two of them Kevin Hassett (II) and Joseph Woulfe (II) declined to say if they are for or against the proposals. Quilty based Woulfe said, “I’m going to have a vote in my local town hall on what the people want”, such a vote is dependent on him winning a seat on the Council. “It won’t be my stance, it will be what the people in the locality”.

Hassett when asked for his stance responded, “whatever my people want”. He then flagged, “There’s €70m a year going into greenways for the last three years, we need value for the taxpayers money, we need a hospital”. The beef farmer added, “My view is you can’t build a museum in every town or county.. With the right conditions and in the right area I am for it but going through people’s land and knocking down houses, I’ve been in these areas in the last few weeks and that is exactly what is happening, these are the concerns of the people”.

Such claims were refuted by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) who said no houses were to be knocked. “That is not what is happening, no way. We’ve met with landowners, if they have an issue we’re trying to work around it and ditches, we’re trying to improve their land”.

Speaking on The Electoral Chair’s election debate in the Kilrush LEA, Hassett claimed, “I’ve met landowners and there is no one for it.. Ye have a CPO order”. Lynch replied, “There is no CPO order, we’re in consultation with the farmers,” and he added, “It only works with consensus and that is what we’re trying to achieve”.

Hassett said, “The people have said to me on the door, they are not for it, they are not totally against it, they are a proportion of the people and their views have to be respected”.

There is a worry on the lack of urgency for the project, Dinny Gould (IND) cautioned. “I’ve spoken to people who are on the greenway, they are all for it, when will it start, it is like anything in West Clare, there is a couple of years of a lapse and we’re left wondering will it be forgotten”.

Susan Griffin (GP) highlighted the need for consultation on the plans, “people should be consulted, as long as it is for the benefit of the locals as well as tourists”.

Years of work have been invested into the Greenway, Cllr Rita McInerney (FF) stated. “As someone whose family have land going on the greenway we are totally considering it. The West Clare Railway Greenway is a corridor, the Council are looking at loads of options, years of work has gone into this”.

Agreement for consultation with local farmers is essential, said Michael Shannon (FF) who noted that the routes have to be finalised.

West Clare Greenway:

Dawn Bennett (SF) – TBC
Theresa Doohan (FG) – TBC
Dinny Gould (IND) – for
Susan Griffin (GP) – for
Kevin Hassett (II) – undecided
John Hill (IFP)
Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) – TBC
Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) – for
Cllr Rita McInerney (FF) – for
Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) – for
Michael Shannon (FF) – for
Alan Troy (FF) – for
Joseph Woulfe (II) – undecided

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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