WITH the new River Fergus Walk and Cycleway already proving to be a great success with locals and visitors to the Ennis area, attention is now turning towards potentially extending the route.
Clarecastle Community Development are endeavouring to secure funding for a feasibility study to be carried out into the possibility of bringing the walk and cycle way as far as Clarecastle Quay.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Paul Murphy requested the local authority “row in behind Clarecastle Community Development’s aspiration of extending the Fergus Greenway onwards to Clarecastle Quay”.
He outlined there is currently a live application for low level Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) funding that will allow a feasibility study for this project to be carried out.
Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer, responded, “A joint application has been made by the Project Management Office and Clarecastle Tidy Towns to the Department of Rural & Community Development, under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS)- project development measure, for funding for a feasibility study, to examine the options to extend the Fergus Greenway from the Clareabbey to Clarecastle Village.
“The Ennis Municipal District support any such applications whilst also being cognisant of which works will be prioritised for future submission under the different categories of ORIS funding.”
Councillor Murphy praised the “great work” that has been done in developing the “first leg” of the popular walkway from the Quin Road to Clareabbey.
He continued, “We see trying to get the walkway to the quay side of Clarecastle as the next step.” He expressed hope that the application for funding for a feasibility study will have a positive outcome.
Councillor Murphy acknowledged that bringing the walkway to the quays “will be challenging, we have the railway and the barrage, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
He said that this would add another amenity to the locality’s tourist attractions. Supporting the motion, Councillor Johnny Flynn added that an expansion of the walk and cycle path north to Ballyalla should also be explored “in the long term”.
Senior executive officer with the Ennis Municipal District Leonore O’Neill commented the council are “delighted that this project has been put forward for funding a feasibility study to see what is possible in terms of the potential development of Clarecastle Quays.
She outlined there is a limit on the value of projects and the number of projects which can be submitted for ORIS funding by any council in an individual year.
She cautioned councillors to “be mindful there are a number of other projects that are being developed looking for the same funding.”
Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy commented, “This is about managing expectations, these things take time.”