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Thursday, 15th June 2017

Carlingford to get €3.46m for Greenway, Boyne Trail gets €125k

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Mornington – one of the scenic areas along the route of the Boyne Trail which, because there is no footpath, is a dangerous place for cyclists and walkers. The walk way will take them off the road away from the traffic and will be cheaper to build than a footpath.

There is a commonly held perception in Drogheda that, that when it comes to investment, whether it be in infrastructure, industry or tourism development, we play second fiddle to Dundalk and the North of the County.

That may or may not be official policy but it has to be said that there is abundant proof that it is happening. Dundalk has multiples of the number of big employers than Drogheda and now the money for tourism development also seems to be heading north.

Tomorrow, Friday, 16th June, the Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr Paul Bell will announce plans for a new 10km stretch of greenway linking Omeath to Newry, and Carlingford Marina to Carlingford Village costing €3.46 million.

There’s to be a special event and photocall at 10:30 am at the Granvue Hotel, Station Rd, Knocknagoran, Omeath, Co Louth followed by a short cycle on the current stretch of the greenway.  

The project is led by Louth County Council, working in collaboration with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and East Border Region Ltd. The new stretch will build on the recently completed and already popular Carlingford Marina to Omeath Greenway.

Funding for the project is provided by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Another example is that on May 10th funding of €400k was announced for the OPW to develop King John's Castle, also in Carlingford, to boost the castle’s visitor experience and appeal to tourists.

That’s fantastic, well done Carlingford, but where’s the support, or the funding, for the Boyne Trail? What’s the plan for the future of Laurence’s Gate, how will it’s visitor experience and appeal to tourists be enhanced?

The Boyneside Trail, the dream child of a small but dedicated committee, would see a walking and cycle way from Mornington to Drogheda which would link it up with the ramparts and then on to the short section of walkway that was installed a couple of years ago to Oldbridge and on to Newgrange.

It is expected that the whole job will take less than €2m to complete but, despite seven years of campaigning, the furthest they’ve got is to be awarded €125,000 to appoint engineers to do survey and make drawings. Seven years, €125,000 – do the math as our American friends say.

Perhaps its Drogheda’s misfortune that it straddles the Louth Meath boundary so there are two councils involved but it is just not good enough that a no-brainer of an idea such as the Boyne Trail should be treated so shabbily by the politicians and civil servants.

When will the local authorities wake up to the fact that history and mythology sells and this area has plenty of both? It’s about time that the Council started to invest in Drogheda’s tourism efforts. Granted, we reeceently saw thr opning of a moooring for yachts on the Boyne and that is vey welcome but it is very much of a niche market. We don't all have yachts but most of us can walk or ride a bike. 

I look forward to Failte Ireland encouraging people from all over the world to go walking in the footsteps of St. Patrick along the Boyne Valley.

People such as the Boyne Trail Committee deserve better than empty political promises and to have obstructions put in their way.

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