LESS than a year after receiving formal approval from the Department of Rural and Community Development, the River Fergus walkway is proving one of the most popular recreational amenities in the Ennis area.
In fact, the positive public reaction to the paved cycling and walking route from the Quin Road to Clareabbey has prompted a move to extend it to the Quay in Clarecastle where a trailhead development is being planned.
Local Fine Gael TD Joe Carey says that proposals for a walking and cycling route linking Clarecastle to Ennis and on to the proposed West Clare Greenway have been under active consideration for several years.
“The extensive engineering work on the Ennis South drainage scheme provided the opportunity to develop a walkway alongside the 1.5 kilometre length of the embankment. Because some of the groundwork and infrastructure was already in place, a high standard walkway could be delivered at a very competitive price,” Deputy Carey explained.
“Last March, Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed that €200,000 would be allocated to the River Fergus walkway and cycle route from the Government’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. This allowed the work to get underway immediately and I’m delighted that the walkway has proven such a popular attraction in such a short time.
“The level of co-operation between Ennis Chamber, Clarecastle Tidy Towns/Clarecastle Community Development Ltd (CCDL) and local public representatives was a significant factor in delivering the first phase of the project.
“That same level of community involvement will be essential in delivering the next stage which will involve an extension of the walkway to the Quay in Clarecastle, where a trailhead, incorporating a boardwalk and visitor facilities, can be developed.
“I anticipate that an application will shortly be submitted by Clare County Council to the Department of Rural and Community Development for funding to move the project on to the planning stage.
“I have invited Minister Heather Humphreys to officially open the first phase of thewalkway and discuss our plans for its future development. I’m delighted that she has accepted the invitation and I’m looking forward to outlining the case for further investment in what is already proving an outstanding public amenity,” Deputy Carey added.
CAPTION: Alma, Joe and Grace Carey on the River Fergus walkway last weekend.