Donegal County Council has issued an update on the progress of the Inishowen Greenway projects, which it says, will eventually result in a 120-kilometre network of “high quality greenway infrastructure’ in a loop around Inishowen, linking to Derry city. When the project will actually be complete though, the council did not say.
Nor did it say what has happened to the €1 million already spent readying and designing the Buncrana to Derry greenway over the past several years. That lapsed project did not meet its EU deadline for funding and the money has since been reallocated elsewhere.
Around 2.2kms of the Inishowen Greenway has been completed in Muff, while there are four remaining separate sections to be designed and constructed: 1. Buncrana to Derry; 2. Muff to Three Trees; 3. Buncrana to Carn; and 4. Three Trees to Carn.
There is no mention of any plans for greenways in the northeast of the peninsula around Moville and Greencastle.
The most positive news in Inishowen centres around the Muff to Three Trees Greenway, which will be co-funded by Europe [with money diverted from Buncrana], both Depts of Transport, North and South, and Donegal County Council.
The Muff to Three Trees Greenway is currently out to tender and the Council says it has “attracted significant interest from local construction firms”, while DCC continues to liaise with affected landowners along the seaward Foyle route.
Positive news too for the new Carndonagh to Buncrana Greenway project, with the Council saying “good progress” is being made.
The first nonstatutory public consultation events are scheduled for later this month, on Tuesday, April 25 in Buncrana and Wednesday, April 26 in Carndonagh.
BUNCRANA-DERRY GREENWAY DELAYS
THE news is not so good though on the centrepiece and most important route of the entire project, the Buncrana-Derry Greenway, which should have been under construction, if not completed by now, with funding having been announced in 2016.
The Council concedes that “separation from the [EUfunded] Northwest Greenway Project created a number of challenges”.
It says these issues have now been resolved and a “clear path forward identified”, as a DCC spokesperson explained. “Donegal County Council intends to appoint technical consultants for this project in the coming months to build upon the work that has been completed to date. This work shall feed into the design process and shall enable the project to proceed at pace, ensuring a robust application to An Bord Pleanala to secure planning in this highly scenic but environmentally sensitive area.”
However, there is no mention of the existing selected route corridor for Buncrana-Bridgend being honoured by the new design team, nor is there any timeline on the project, which has already cost more than €1 million without a sod being turned.
Meanwhile, the Three Trees to Carndonagh Greenway will be the “final piece in the puzzle”, the Council says, while Inishowen will also connect in to the Carrigans to Lifford Greenway.
When all this work might be finished, or started, the Council did not say. But it looks likely that Muff to Three Trees will be the first project to see diggers on site, possibly later this year.
“It is anticipated that the provision of a high-quality greenway around the Inishowen peninsula will have a positive impact on the local community, providing a safe walking and cycling corridor between local towns and villages, highlighting local cultural heritage and the outstanding natural beauty of the region, encouraging tourists to visit and explore the wider Inishowen region and providing safe and sustainable commuting and leisure opportunities for all user groups and so promoting health and wellbeing for our citizens,” said Stephen McCrory, Senior Executive Engineer with DCC’s Greenways Team.