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Senator Róisín Garvey

Five Clare schools to benefit from walk and cycle spend

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FIVE Clare schools have been chosen to take part in a new programme aimed at supporting walking and cycling infrastructure for primary and post-primary schools.
St Flannan’s NS, Inagh, Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, Inis, Holy Family Junior School, Ennis, Holy Family Senior NS, Ennis, and Clonmoney National School, Newmarket-on-Fergus, were among 170 schools nationwide selected in the first round of the Safe Routes to School Programme.
The scheme was announced in March of this year, with 932 schools, representing almost one in four schools in the state, expressing interest.
The schools selected were assessed against a range of criteria including school type, location and the school’s commitment to sustainable travel.
Clare’s Green Party Senator Róisín Garvey has said that the scheme will offer a variety of benefits.
“Safer routes to school are needed outside every school in Ireland. This is something I’ve worked passionately on for years inside and outside of politics.
“We know that children in schools across Clare want to walk or cycle to school, and we know that if they do, they arrive to school more alert.
“This initiative will help reduce traffic, combat childhood obesity, and reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is a fantastic announcement for Clare. These schools will be assigned a Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Officer from An Taisce Green Schools who will work with the school to develop a delivery plan that will make it safer to walk, cycle or scoot to school,” said the senator.
“The delivery plan will be implemented by Clare County Council, funded out of the €1.8 billion committed by this government for walking and cycling across the country over the next five years.”, she added.
“The Green Party have achieved a historic increase in funding for walking and cycling and I’m happy to work with any school, whether they applied for the Safe Routes to School Programme or not, to help them get better walking and cycling infrastructure on the school run,” pledged Senator Garvey.
Schools that have applied this year and who have not been included in the first round of funding will not be required to reapply as they will come into the programme on a rolling basis.
The programme is funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA) and is supported by the Department of Education.
An Taisce’s Green-Schools is co-ordinating the programme, while funding will be made available to local authorities which will play a key part in delivering the infrastructure along access routes and at the school gate.
The Safe Routes to School programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing walking and cycling facilities.
The improvements to the school commute range from an upgraded footpath or new cycle lane to a complete reworking of the road outside a school’s entrance.
Cycle and scooter parking will be provided to most schools that are part of the programme.
Precise details of the works to be undertaken in and around the individual schools will be determined after a detailed assessment has been carried out by the relevant local authority.
The process of engagement between the schools, NTA and the local authorities is already underway.

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