Royal Canal Greenway extension must also protect natural environment

'Deep Sinking' section of Royal Canal between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations

‘Deep Sinking’ section of Royal Canal between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations

Today, I made a submission to the public consultation process on the development of a new Greenways Strategy, which was undertaken by the Department of Transport. In it, I highlighted that the protection of the natural environment has to be a key consideration in any extension of the Royal Canal Greenway from the 12th Lock to the Kildare County Council border.

Getting the greenway extended along the Royal Canal is something I have been working on consistently. While everyone accepts that the ‘Deep Sinking’ section between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations is currently extremely unsafe for walkers and cyclists, it is also an incredibly scenic area. Bringing a greenway through this section will involve change. But it is vital that any new development is balanced with maintaining the natural heritage of this section. A ‘chop and pave’ approach here would devastate a beautiful area”.

Separately, the period for tenders to draw up a design for the 12th Lock to the Kildare border has closed, and Fingal will now examine the applications and award the tender early in the autumn. The successful consultant will draw up a design for what this section of the greenway will look like and what route it will take. This will then go out to public consultation.

Balancing the next section of the Royal Canal greenway with the scenic importance of the area will be complex and may require some innovative solutions. But it is vital that this is done. The key selling points of greenways are their natural beauty. We must be careful that we do not sacrifice this in the process of opening up the Deep Sinking section.

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