Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (232)

Pat Deering


232. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria that were used when selecting the successful cycle routes under the first and second round of the national cycle network funding scheme 2014-2016; the scoring that each successful application received; the subsequent level of funding that each successful cycle route was allocated; if there will be another round of NCN funding to follow; where the River Barrow, Carlow Town - St. Mullins proposal is currently placed on the short list; and the importance in his view of developing the River Barrow corridor for leisure and economic purposes. [23880/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

In August 2013, my Department announced a funding call for the National Cycle Network Funding Scheme 2014 to 2016. The criteria in respect of applications was made clear from the outset. The Department was seeking to fund high quality, safe, off-road greenway routes that would have the potential to be world class trip attractors. It was clear from the criteria that successful projects would need to show capacity as a tourism and day trip attraction and, where feasible, as a transport corridor for local use. A scoring matrix was established to reflect the criteria and all applications received a score out of 100. A number of projects were selected for site visits and a recommendation for funding was then made by the associated assessment team to me, for the NCN Programme. The scores attributed to the successful projects were as follows: Galway to Moycullen Greenway (66), Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen (65) and Clonea to Durrow (55). These projects received €2 million, €3.4 million and €898,000 respectively.

In relation to the "second round" of funding, I presume the Deputy is referring to the recently announced stimulus package where €10 million was allocated to the delivery of greenways as part of a €200 million national infrastructure package. The criteria applied to this funding was slightly different as projects were prioritised on the basis of capacity to deliver infrastructure within a short timeframe in order to maximise the stimulus effect. The River Barrow, Carlow Town to St. Mullins greenway project is considered a good quality project with potential to generate economic activity as a local and regional amenity. I will continue to explore alternative funding streams for such projects given the associated potential.

It is also worth noting that the EU Structural Funds Programme 2014 to 2020 is currently being finalised and there may be significant opportunities for cycle infrastructure development under Interreg and the Rural Development Programme. I understand that many local authorities are already positioning themselves to avail of such opportunities.