SLNCR Abbey Loop, Dromahair
North Leitrim needs a flagship project and the Sligo Leitrim Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) Greenway is the perfect fit.
Fine Gael Cllr Sean McDermott has made a passionate plea for Leitrim County Council to prioritise the proposed greenway from Sligo to Enniskillen to promote the rugged landscape of north Leitrim.
Cllr McDermott said he didn’t have “sour grapes” but he counted the Shannon Erne canal and the Blueway as massive tourism drivers for south Leitrim.
He said the north of the county needs a greenway and he said cycleways and walkways are a massive draw for European tourists.
“In Germany they have 70,000kms of cycleways - we are not at the races,” he said, claiming 20 million Europeans are looking for cycle holidays.
He announced the greenway “could be a game changer” for the county as well as small towns and villages along it.
“They are not coming to Ireland because we don't have enough greenways and the existing greenways are not connected,” he said.
“It is well known that to attract tourists for cycling holidays on greenways you would need to have 600km of a greenway for a week of cycling,” he added.
Sean believes one of the proposed greenways looping Dublin to Dublin would have great potential of attracting tourists into the north west.
That proposed greenway starts in Dublin takes in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Dromahair, Manorhamilton, Glenfarne, Enniskillen, Kingscourt, Boyne Valley and back to Dublin.
He said the SLNCR cycleway would have the added cross-border interest.
Cllr Caillian Ellis supported this and noted “we are not doing enough for tourism in Leitrim.”
He also said magnificent walks and drives around the county are not being promoted enough.
Cllr Felim Gurn said an economic study on the SLNCR greenway found it to be viable and it has support in Northern Ireland.
He told council members “The entire project would cost €20m but we are hoping to get over €600,000 in June.”
Leitrim County Council said the SLNCR Greenway is a priority for the council.
“In order to advance the 58km in Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan an application seeking developmental costs of €635,000 was submitted and we are hopeful of funding in June.”
Cllr Gurn said this “is the game changer to keep communities alive.”
Cllr Brendan Barry supported this too and said hopefully the walkway could link to the Breffni Way and others in Leitrim.
Cllr Padraig Fallon said the project has “massive potential.”
Cllr McDermott also welcomed the new self catering accommodation called W8 in Manorhamilton and said if this greenway proceeded more bed nights would be created locally as well as other tourism businesses.