Campaign to extend the Royal Canal GreenwayPadraig Conlon 22 Dec 2022
A LOCAL man has started a campaign for work to begin on the Royal Canal Greenway extension to connect Maynooth all the way to Dublin city centre.
The existing Royal Canal Greenway, which officially opened to the public in March 2021, consists of 130km of shared cycle and pedestrian track running to Longford.
Starting in Maynooth, it follows the 200 year old canal through Enfield and Mullingar to Cloondara in Longford, with cafés, picnic spots and attractions along the way.
However, the remainder of the canal, running from Maynooth all the way to the Liffey in Dublin city centre, has a track running alongside it.
Several parts of that track are not suitable for pedestrians or cyclists and there are many muddy, stony, slippery and narrow sections. Now local man Colm Bhandal has launched a campaign to extend the Royal Canal Greenway to Dublin city centre.
“We want work to begin on the proposed Royal Canal Greenway extension, connecting Maynooth all the way to Dublin city centre,” Colm told Northside People.
“We want this work to begin without delay.
“Plans to extend the Greenway have been continually delayed to date.
“Part of the reason quoted for this is objections from residents, who are understandably fearful about issues like privacy and anti-social behaviour.
“Other reasons cited include various planning stages that need to be cleared before building work takes place.
“I am petitioning Fingal County Council to get this greenway completed all the way to Dublin city, for cyclists and walkers alike.
“Members of our community will walk in peaceful demonstration this New Year’s Day, 2023, along the Royal Canal footpath from Maynooth to Dublin City.
“The walk will raise public awareness of the state of affairs of the proposed Royal Canal Greenway extension between Maynooth and Dublin.”
Colm has personally hand delivered leaflets to residents all along the canal route, to share news of the walk and the petition.
“Almost everyone I have talked to on my leaflet delivery journey are in favour of extending the greenway,” he says.
“Many have rolled their eyes at the lack of progress.
“A small handful are opposed to the Greenway being built on the north bank, because it would run right behind their houses and they worry about their public green spaces being taken, among other things.
“However, all those I talked too still support the idea of a greenway in general.
“Since starting my campaign, both Kildare County Council and Dublin City Council have recently announced their choices of contractors to work on the Maynooth-Leixlip and Ashtown-Drumcondra sections of the greenway, respectively.
“Only Fingal County Council remains to announce similar progress on its part, which runs roughly from Leixlip Confey to Ashtown.
“Not surprisingly, Fingal’s section includes the controversial bit where there are residents opposing the north bank plans.
“Perhaps the motivation to delay there is political.
“I have a Twitter account for this campaign if your readers would like to check it out for themselves.
“The handle is @RoyalGreeenway. There is a link to the website from that Twitter account, with further info about the petition and walk.”
North Inner City Fine Gael Councillor Ray McAdam also wants to see the Greenway extended to Dublin city centre.
“We’re closing in on eight years since planning permission for the Royal Canal Pedestrian and Cycle Greenway was granted by Dublin City Councillors,” he said in a recent statement.
“While Phases 1 and 2 are open and works have been advanced on various parts of Phase 4, linking Cross Guns Bridge and Ashtown, there have been too many delays in getting construction work started on the stretch linking the North Strand and Phibsborough.
“However, following a meeting I chaired last month, I can confirm that Dublin City Council will appoint a contractor before Christmas to undertake the construction of an enhanced pedestrian and cycleway between Newcomen Bridge and Cross Guns Bridge.
“The Council expect the construction period to last approximately two years.
“Notwithstanding the Council advancing shortly to the selection of a preferred contractor, it is likely that we will have to consider a revised planning scheme for the linking of the greenway to Binns Bridge.”
Northside People contacted Fingal County Council for a comment on this story but had not received a reply at the time of going to press.