Material Amendments to Draft Mayo County Development Plan 2021-2027
Submission that I’ve sent in to the amended draft Mayo county development plan. I have been involved with the campaign to get a Greenway built on the route of the disused rail line from Charlestown to Claremorris for maybe 10/12 years now. Its a tedious laborious time consuming campaign, but finally, hopefully, we are beginning to make progress. Sligo County Council fully support the Sligo Greenway from Collooney to Charlestown and are progressing to planning with their Greenway. Although the Department of Transport & Irish Rail and only last month, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport & Communications fully support the East Mayo Greenway proposals, Mayo County Council are still working against us.
Below is my submission to the amendments that were made to MTO6 of the original Draft Mayo County Development Plan 2021-2027. The amendments added to MTO6 were;
To specifically conduct a feasibility study for the development of a Greenway linking the Great Northern Greenway at Collooney to the Great Western Greenway via the high amenity areas of the Ox mountains, with a link point to the Ballina – Castlebar – Westport interurban Greenway at Foxford, Co. Mayo.
That the Western Rail Corridor (WRC) is protected and preserved for the delivery of Rail Infrastructure to develop the region and is excluded from any feasibility study for the WRC.
MTO 6 Amendments Prejudices One Community Project Over Another
I am a resident of Swinford all of my life and am very active in the community. I am involved in many community groups down through the years and try to promote Swinford as a great place to live and work. I have been involved in many projects in Swinford, a lot of them in conjunction with Mayo County Council, all for the betterment of the town and surrounding areas. I have made previous submissions on the draft county plan, and am very disappointed that these have been completely disregarded with the suggested amendments to MTO 6.
I have made previous submissions on the draft county plan, and am very disappointed that these have been completely disregarded, along with hundreds of other submissions, with the suggested amendments to MTO 6. Sligo County Council are currently at an advanced stage with the Sligo Greenway which will run along the route of the western transport corridor from Collooney to Charlestown at the Sligo/Mayo border. The amendments proposed to MTO 6 which suggests connecting the great western Greenway with the Sligo Greenway but going via Foxford and the Ox mountains. Now to me, this idea hasn’t been very well thought out? If this ammendment is passed, we will have the ludicrous situation where we have the completed Sligo Greenway ending in Charlestown on the Sligo/Mayo border, and Mayo County Council constructing a Greenway to connect to it, but going via Foxford and ending at the Mayo/Sligo border somewhere up in the Ox mountains.
Jim Meade the CEO of Irish Rail said this at an Oireachtas Transport committee meeting in February 2021:
“We always support greenways and there is a caveat on any greenway license we have out there that
if there is a requirement there from the department.” Mr Meade continued “the greenway is a win
win I think for both because it keeps the asset in state ownership, it keeps the asset utilized and then
if there is a decision at some time in the future that it has to go back into public transport mode, the
licensing arrangement is such that it can do so.”
Transcripts from that committee meeting can be downloaded from the link below.
A video clip from the relevant section of the meeting can be viewed here;
Irish Rail Submission to the Draft Mayo County Plan 2021-2027 (myo-c11-696)
8. Greenway Development
Iarnród Éireann notes that the Council aim to support and facilitate the EuroVelo rail project on the Western Rail
Corridor as an interim use for the rail line pending its reopening for passenger and rail freight. Iarnród Éireann will
continue to provide conditional support for the development of a greenways in locations where the railway does not
have a short to medium term viable business case for reintroduction of services. In terms of the Western Rail Corridor,
this conditional support is subject to the section north of Claremorris. Greenways help to keep the asset in state
ownership and keep the asset utilised, and then if there is a decision at some time in the future that it should go back
to railway use, the licensing arrangement is such that it can do so.
Department of Transport Submission to the Draft Mayo County Plan 2021-2027 (MYO-C11-1027)
The Department welcomes the commitment to Greenways in the draft plan. However we do note that all the planned Greenways are in the west of the county. The aim of the Strategy For The Future Development of National and Reginal Greenways is to increase the number and regional spread of greenway around the country. We would welcome future examination of Greenway options in the east of the county. To that end we would welcome protection of the western rail corridor as a “Transport Corridor” rather than solely as a railway line as the goals laid out in the previous paragraph. This minor change would not prohibit the re-instatement of the railway line but it would also ensure consideration could be given at a future time for the construction of a Greenway on or beside the alingment of the railway line. This would be particulary welcomed for phase IV of the western rail corridor from Claremorris to Charlestown.
Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport & Communications Meeting 8th March 2022.
At the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications meeting on the 8th March 2022, stated that a greenway could go on or beside the line on the wrc. The meeting was attended by
Representatives of West on Track • Colmán Ó Raghaltaigh • Peter Feeney • Mike Devane
Representatives of the Western Rail Trail Greenway Campaign • John Mulligan
Representatives of the North Tipperary Community Rail Partnership • Graham Lightfoot • Edward Kelly • Hassard Stacpoole Richard Logue, rail consultant.
The Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Submission to the public consultation on the All Island Strategic Rail Review, which can be viewed here; https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/33/joint_committee_on_transport_and_communications/reports/2022/2022-03-16_submission-to-the-public-consultation-on-the-all-island-strategic-rail-review_en.pdf on page 15 states that,
The Committee supports both the establishment of greenways and the re-commissioning of disused rail lines once again as active rail lines. The Committee believes that this does not have to be a binary choice. Both options can and should be considered separately or in parallel, including constructing new greenways alongside existing rail lines.
Therefore the amendments proposed to MTO 6 prejudices the All Island Strategic Rail Review. Precedence has already been made with the licencing agreement, which has been extended to 2027, between Mayo County Council and Irish Rail for the 12K section of the Western Transport Corridor at Kiltimagh for the Velorail amenity. There is no reason why a second licencing agreement can be entered into for the Greenway to be extended from Charlestown on to Swinford to connect with the Greenway at Turlough. Irish Rail are in favour of it, the Dept of Transport has funding for it, the Oireachtas Committee on Transport recommends that a Greenway can go on or alongside the route.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a submission. I hope this time some consideration will be given to it.
To change the proposed amendments to MTO 6
- MTO 6 Amendments Prejudices One Community Project Over Another - April 26, 2022
- Draft Mayo County Development Plan 2021-2027 - March 11, 2021
- Laminated Platter - October 4, 2020