North and West Clare councillors have called on the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan (GP) to restore the Active Travel Scheme, and apply it equally to urban and rural areas.
At the September meeting of the West Clare municipal district, Cathaoirleach, Councillor Ian Lynch (IND) put forward a motion to request that the Active Travel Scheme be applied equally to urban and rural areas. Another motion by Councillor Joe Garrihy (FG) called for the Minister to restore the same scheme.
Cllr Lynch said “I think it’s important we put pressure on” adding North Clare and West Clare was not getting enough to manage successfully and would need to either get its fair share or get a different scheme set up.”
Cllr Garrihy described Active Travel as “one of the most exciting schemes” ever established, and said it was “totally unacceptable” that it was not extended to North Clare, adding it needed to be restored “on the double” to make up for none last year.
He added: “We were so excited with the scheme – we had the opportunity to do something completely exciting, like the footpaths in Doolin. Active Travel does the smallest but most important thing, it slows down the traffic and makes it safe outside the school.”
Councillor Shane Talty (FF) described the scheme as “the single most positive thing that came across our desk in the past year.”
Councillor PJ Kelly (FF) said all “of this is under an umbrella of planned obsolescence in rural Clare…it’s just unbelievable.”
Councillor Gabriel Keating (FG) added, “as regards West Clare we have been left out.”
Executive Engineer in the Active Travel office, Conor McDonagh said his team will reiterate concerns raised with the National Transport Authority (NTA) who decide which projects or schemes are provided with Active Travel grant funding.
Senior Executive Officer with the West Clare municipal district, John O’ Malley said if agreed by the members, the West Clare MD can write to the Minister saying he will also discuss the matter with colleagues in the Active Travel office.
Projects in the Active Travel programme are funded by the Department of Transport through the NTA and managed and delivered by the local authorities. In 2023, EUR290 million was allocated by the NTA.
Sharon Dolan D'Arcy
Sharon Dolan D'Arcy is originally from Ennis. Her work as a print journalist has appeared in a number of regional publications. She worked as court reporter at The Sligo Weekender newspaper and is a former editor of The Athenry News and Views. She covers West Clare news.