Political representatives both national and local, as well as senior officials from local authorities from across the region came together in Dromahair recently to agree on a united approach to the next phase of development of the SLNCR (Sligo to Enniskillen) Greenway.
Before the meeting, the attendees visited the Dromahair Demonstration Stretch – a 1.2 km length of the SLNCR line that has been open to the public for over a year and is hugely popular with locals and visitors.
JJ O'Hara representing the Irish Tourism Network chaired the meeting, and in his opening address indicated the importance of tourism to the region and in particular the significant benefits which the Greenway would bring to tourists and locals alike.
Seán Conlan a representative of the SLNCR WG gave a presentation in which he highlighted what had been achieved over the recent past. He also pointed out that the Greenway project has deeper roots than most in the country – an initial study and report based on landowners inputs was carried out in 1996, and we are proud of the generosity of landowners who have embraced the permissive access approach. Two 'demonstration stretches' are already in place with a third in planning. He urged all present to be proactive on this unique transformational opportunity for the whole region.
Cllrs from Sligo - Leitrim - Cavan - Fermanagh, TDS & MLAs gathered at a meeting @RiverbankRestau on the progression of SLNCR Greenway. The five glens info boards were also presented to representatives there. These will be erected in the coming months to promote tourism here. pic.twitter.com/4udqNYUy6j— CaisleanHamilton (@HamiltonsCastle) February 25, 2018
Joe Gilhooly acting CEO in Leitrim spoke on the part of the council, and indicated the active willingness of Leitrim County Council to continue its leadership role among the four participating local authorities. Leitrim County Council is committed to driving the project and will form a new steering committee in the coming weeks and bring in representatives from all stakeholders. He also stated his confidence that the incumbent CEO in Leitrim, Lar Power, having served in Waterford would be very supportive of the project and he was already fully briefed. He takes up this position in the next few weeks. Cavan was
represented by the director of planning in Cavan along with John Paul Feely CC. A meeting had already been arranged between Leitrim and Sligo planning teams and Cavan and Fermanagh gave a commitment to work with them.
Mark McSharry TD, Eamonn Scanlon TD, and Martin Kenny TD attended as well as Blaine Gaffney as representative for Tony McLoughlin TD who unfortunately had a prior commitment. Robert Gibson attended on the part of Fermanagh Omagh District Council and he indicated that there is cross-party support for the project across the border. Jemma
Dolan MLA , Enniskillen also participated.
The attendance included numerous councillors from across the region including North Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan- all keen to show their positive commitment to the project.
Ciarán Hayes, CEO of Sligo County Council along with Dorothy Clarke Director of Services attended. Ciarán spoke very passionately of the commitment that Sligo have for the project. He indicated that there were difficulties with a small number of landowners but agreed that the bottom up community approach that had been taken by to date was the correct approach. Thomas Healy CC gave a commitment on his part to help with that process on the ground with representatives from the SLNCR Working Group to approach and refresh the Sligo landowners.
A key outcome of the meeting was a cast iron commitment on the part of the local authorities to drive on with the section 8 planning procedure and the environmental impact assessment which process is ongoing. The huge importance to be shovel-ready in so far as possible by June 2018 was recognised by all.
Overall it was a very positive meeting and all the political representative gave a firm commitment to support the project.
Sinéad Maguire CC in Strandhill, a Blacklion native and daughter of Frankie Maguire confirmed that Neven Maguire was prepared to be our Patron and media representative for the project and give it national prominence. This was warmly welcomed by all present.
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