The Great Southern Greenway at Ardagh PICTURE: Google Streetview
MINISTER Patrick O’Donovan has welcomed progress made by the council in developing the old railway station house in Ardagh as part of the Greenway.
He was speaking after a meeting last week with the council and local voluntary groups in the area, where the council outlined their plans.
“Over a year ago I brought the council out to Ardagh to meet the local groups in the area and to see what could be done with the station house. I encouraged council management to push forward with a plan to include Ardagh in the upgraded Great Southern Greenway. We had a very productive meeting on the day, and Limerick City and County Council engaged with enthusiasm from the start. I held a number of other follow up meetings and throughout the process I was able to get government funding for the overall development of the Greenway,” said the Minister for the OPW.
When he was Minister for Tourism he said he developed the concept of a national Greenway strategy.
“I can see here in Limerick that there is enormous potential for the Greenway to make a really positive contribution to the towns and villages that it goes through. At the moment resurfacing works are going on which will improve the quality of the surface for users. We also have seen recently the tunnel in Barna being reopened and both of these projects have been funded by the government through different schemes including rural development and Greenway funding.
“It’s clear from other parts of the country, including Mayo and Waterford, that the Greenway network has huge potential for rural communities. These are not only amenities for the local area, but also very important for visitors to the area. As Minister for the OPW I recently met with the council to see how the OPW sites in the area can be maximised for tourism development in County Limerick and this work in Ardagh will add to that,” said Minister O’Donovan, who has a deep personal connection to the project.
“My family came from the railway - my great-grandfather came to Limerick with the old Great Southern and Western Railway; my grandparents had a level crossing in Churchtown; my granduncle was in the station in Newcastle West and my grandaunt was in the station in Barna.
“My father was born just a few hundred yards away in Ardagh so I have a lot of connections to this project and the wider Greenway and I want to see it prosper and grow in the years ahead, because I believe it will be a major asset to all of County Limerick,” said Minister O’Donovan, who adds that the council informed him they will now begin a planning process.
He thanked local Fine Gael councillors – Tom Ruddle, John Sheahan and Liam Galvin – for their support and looks forwards forward to working with them on future development of the Greenway.