Cavan Fianna Fáil councillor, John Paul Feeley, has welcomed the allocation of €500,000 under Measure Three of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme from the Department of Rural and Community Development to develop a 6km trail from Belturbet Town to Lock One at Curraquill.
The money is matched by funding of €200,000 from Cavan County Council and via the old Aghalane Bridge on the Shannon-Erne Waterway following the towpath on the Woodford River. It will include the re-instatement of the old footbridge on the Ragg River.
"This funding is the second phase of a much larger and ambitious plan shared by Cavan and Leitrim County Councils, Waterways Ireland and local communities to create a greenway from Belturbet, County Cavan to Drumod, County Leitrim and taking in Ballyconnell, Templeport/Bawnboy, Ballinamore and Mohill along the route of the waterway and the old Cavan Leitrim Railway and linking back to the International Scouting Centre at Castlesaunderson and in time the Ulster Canal," he said.
Cavan County Council, in conjunction with Waterways Ireland and in cooperation with local landowners are currently progressing the construction of a 5.5km stretch from Ballyconnell to Bellaheady.
"The funding could not be drawn down without the huge work put in to preparing the application for funding on the part of the Community and Enterprise Section of Cavan County Council, the local area staff of the County Council and local community input through Belturbet Walking and Heritage Group, Kilcorby Log Cabins and local landowners," said Cllr Feeley.
The routes developed by Cavan County Council in partnership with Waterways Ireland are aimed at providing a predominantly off-road Greenway for cyclists and pedestrians and will link into other local cycling and walking trails and local tourist attractions within the region.
"This type of development should not been seen as simply for tourists, it is opening up the waterways for locals also providing a significant amenity to encourage exercise, it will create an ecological corridor along the river that is accessible to the community as well as help build local economic activity.
"The next phase will be to continue to route along the Canal from Corraquill back to Ballyconnell, thus linking the two towns via Greenway in what will then be the first substantive section of the wider more longterm project. I know that Cavan County Council are actively advancing those plans."
Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that he looked forward to the project going to tender and work commencing in the coming month.