I thank the Minister for coming to the Seanad to discuss the very important matter of the Broadmeadow greenway, which links Donabate with Malahide. The greenway is a cycleway and a pathway for cyclists and pedestrians linking the two towns and Newbridge Demesne, which a fantastic amenity in Donabate owned by Fingal County Council, with Malahide and Malahide Castle. The population of Donabate is approximately 8,000 and that of Malahide 16,000. I believe the application to An Bord Pleanála is imminent so I call on the Minister to work closely with Fingal County Council to ensure there is adequate funding for the development of this greenway as soon as planning permission is granted.
I believe the council has a fund of €10 million which is earmarked specifically for the development of eight greenways in Fingal over the next two years. That would mean an average of €1.25 million per greenway. The construction of the Portmarnock to Baldoyle greenway is under way and is estimated to cost €2.5 million so it does not take a genius to work out that these council funds could fall well short. I ask the Minister to commit his Department to giving the money to Fingal County Council to develop this vital piece of infrastructure between Donabate and Malahide.
I note from his recent budget speech that the Minister for Finance referred to the development of greenways and spoke about €1.26 billion in capital expenditure for the Department for the period 2018 to 2020. He also made reference to the design, planning and implementation of cycling and walking projects from the fund. I ask the Minister for a very small amount to be allocated to the development of the Donabate and Malahide greenway.
I live in Donabate, which it is a beautiful part of north County Dublin. A lot of construction is under way on the peninsula and in the town. The construction of 1,200 new homes is planned for the area in the near future and the greenway should be constructed alongside those houses. Public amenities and transport links, such as a greenway, are absolutely essential as one cannot put in houses without the essential infrastructure around them. Not only would the greenway be a massive boost from the point of view of tourism, with a knock-on effect on the economic development of the two towns, it would also benefit the people living in Donabate and Malahide. Fingal is the fastest growing area in Ireland and we are trying to promote a healthy lifestyle among our children. We are trying to get people out of their cars and off the sofa so that they can enjoy a vigorous and healthy outdoor lifestyle. We need to ensure our children are safe as they cycle in the area and this greenway is a massive opportunity for us to do that, and to address growing childhood obesity and other issues.
The tourism aspect of the development is important. We live very close to Dublin Airport but millions of tourists come into the airport only to leave it very quickly. We want to capture some of them and get them to stay in Fingal to enjoy the fabulous coastline and wonderful public amenities we have. Primarily, though, the people of Donabate and Malahide deserve it. It is a small amount of money for the Department to absorb and would only cost around €2.5 million. I want the Minister to guarantee that the funding will be made available to Fingal County Council so that the project can be delivered without delay.