I hope that the recent funding announcements for Greenways, including for the section of the Grand Canal in Kildare, will have a substantial impact on tourism in Kildare and the country as a whole. In Kildare specifically I expect an increase in numbers visiting Sallins and Hazelhatch and enjoying this extension of Arthur’s Way particularly given its proximity to Dublin.
We have seen the impact the Waterford Greenway and the Great Western Greenway have had on their communities, in towns such as Dungarvan, Kilmacthomas and Newport. Waterford Greenway alone attracted over 250,000 users in its first twelve months of operation. It is my hope the likes of Sallins will see the benefits of this investment, as well as towns such as Listowel, New Ross and Blessington which will also be gaining new Greenways.
The inclusion of Greenways in Project Ireland 2040 shows the importance attached to them by Government in terms of tourism and rural regeneration as well as for health and wellbeing. I am aware of the widespread interest across the country in developing Greenways as evidenced by the recent funding call and to subject the allocations in annual Estimates process I will explore options for further funding calls over the coming years. In regards to funding in the Kildare area, greenway funding schemes are competitive processes and therefore I cannot guarantee funding for any specific greenway.