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West Clare Greenway moves a step closer

HE creation of a world class Greenway along the route of the old West Clare Railway, expected to bring positive benefits to the entire county, has moved a step further with the appointment of consultants for the first section of the project.
Clare County Council has announced the appointment of Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers to progress the options, route selection, design and assessment phases of the first section of the Greenway between Kilrush and Kilkee via Moyasta. 
Much of the land along the old rail-line is in private ownership, and Clare County Council’s Senior Engineer, Seán Lenihan acknowledges that the project has its challenges, with success dependent on co-operation and collaboration between all parties involved.
He assured that the council is committed to working with all affected parties, and the council are due to begin engagement with landowners, the public and community groups in the coming weeks.
The creation of a world class Greenway from Ennis to Kilkee, connecting towns and villages along the way, has been a long term objective for Clare County Council.
According to the local authority, the Greenway will provide economic, social, health and environmental benefits not alone for people living in Clare but for all those who visit the county.
The contract was signed by Council Chief Executive Pat Dowling in the presence of Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor Joe Killeen, and Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Cillian Murphy following a recent tender competition and detailed assessment. 
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor PJ Ryan commented, “The West Clare Railway Greenway is a project that can bring benefits to everyone living inc
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, said, “Greenways provide health and wellbeing benefits for people in rural communities, and can contribute to the local economy through increased tourism. The route of the old West Clare Railway is ideal for the development of a new Greenway, which will be a wonderful amenity providing access to Clare’s beautiful scenery and countryside.” 
Carmel Kirby, Director of Physical Development, Clare County Council, said, “The appointment of consultants for the Kilrush to Kilkee section of the West Clare Railway Greenway is a very welcome development. The Greenway will further enhance Clare’s outstanding tourism offering, while also providing a new recreational facility to people living in the county.”
The project is being led by the Council’s Project Management Office. Senior Engineer, Seán Lenihan said, “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 co-operation 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. We are really excited to get to this stage and, following an initial period of data gathering, we will be getting out in the next couple of weeks engaging with the landowners, the public and community interest groups.” 
“It is fantastic news for County Clare,” Mr Lenihan concluded.
Interested parties are welcome to contact the Project Management Office at Clare County Council at 065-682 1616 or by email at pmoadmin@clarecoco.ie

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