The Government has given the green light for a new walk and cycle route that will eventually link Clarecastle to Ennis and on the planned West Clare Greenway, local TD Joe Carey has announced.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys confirmed to Deputy Carey that funding of €200,000 has been allocated to the River Fergus Walk & Cycle project.

The Clarecastle-based TD has lobbied his colleagues in government on the project for several years, including Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan who visited the area in December 2020.

Deputy Carey said he is “overjoyed” the first phase of the cycle and walking route has been approved.

The local Fine Gael TD said: “This is really exciting news for the community. The River Fergus Walk & Cycle will be a fantastic amenity that residents, commuter and visitors to the area will enjoy for generations to come.”

Several years ago, Deputy Carey, along with fellow members of the Clarecastle Community Development Ltd (CCDL) and Ennis Chamber, identified the opportunity to develop a walking and cycling path in conjunction with the construction of the Ennis South Flood Relief Work. A feasibility study into the project was subsequently commissioned by CCDL and Ennis Chamber, which formed a key  part of Clare County Council’s successful application.    

Deputy Carey today confirmed funding for the project has been approved under the Government’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme Measure 2.  

The Clare TD paid tribute to the huge efforts made by the local community and business leaders to make the initiative a reality.

Deputy Carey added: “I would like to express my thanks to all of the members of Clarecastle Community Development Ltd for the trojan work they have done on this fantastic project. I would also like to thank the Mayor of Ennis, local Cllr Paul Murphy who has put a huge amount of work into this project, Ennis Chamber, Clare County Council and Cllr Johnny Flynn.”

“Funding for Phase One of the River Fergus Walk & Cycle has been secured and I will do everything in my power to ensure we see it through to the end. The next phase will be to extend the trail to the Quay in Clarecastle, where a trailhead can be developed as identified in the feasibility report. It also makes sense to link the trail across Ennis town to join in with the start of the West Clare Greenway.”

PHOTO: Deputy Joe Carey with Cllr Paul Murphy, Mayor of Ennis (left) and OPW Minister Patrick O’Donovan (right) at the River Fergus and Ennis South Flood Relief works