Almost €6m is set to be allocated to county Clare for sustainable transport infrastructure under the government’s Rural Active Travel Investment Programme.
The Clare funding announcement is part of an overall announcement of €72.8m for 340 sustainable transport projects in 19 local authorities announced by the National Transport Authority and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.
Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley has welcomed the allocation.
Senator Dooley said: “I am delighted to see Clare County Council receive €5,986,000 in new funding to develop active cycling and walking infrastructure throughout the county. This investment will provide green sustainable transport options to those in rural communities.
“Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Connecting communities and making walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone is what this funding will help to accomplish.
“The funding allocation towards footpaths is particularly welcomed as this will greatly enhance many towns and villages. I look forward to seeing the full potential of these projects reached and the benefits it will have on local communities across Clare” concluded Senator Dooley.
In welcoming the announcement, the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “Clare County Council welcomes this significant investment in the walking and cycling transport network in towns and villages across County Clare. Some towns and village centres can be difficult to navigate due to narrow footpaths and this investment will make it easier for people of all ages to move around and enjoy their local environment.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “This investment will be a major step forward in encouraging people to switch to more active modes of transport which will promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute towards our climate change objectives. I am delighted that the application put forward by the Transportation Team in Clare County Council, in conjunction with the four Municipal Districts, has received approval to proceed.”
Carmel Kirby, Director of Physical Development, Clare County Council, said: “Provision of high-quality footpaths and cycleways enhances the activity and liveliness of urban areas by enabling people to connect with their town or village. It is important that residents and visitors of all ages can shop, access schools, workplaces, and recreation amenities safely and smoothly along well-built footpaths and cycling infrastructure.”
John Leahy, Senior Engineer, Clare County Council, also welcomed the programme, advising that the Active Travel programme is year 1 of a multi-annual active travel programme and that the projects funded by the current announcement are those that can be delivered or advanced in 2021. For projects that could not be delivered in 2021, the NTA has given approval for some projects to either proceed to the next stage of design or await the outcome of strategies currently being prepared, including the mobility plans that are funded under this programme. This will lead to a further programme of projects.
Clare Fine Gael Deputy Joe Carey has also welcomed the news.
“This funding has a particular focus on rural Ireland and I’m delighted to confirm that Clare County Council will receive just under €6 million. This funding is underpinned by the Government’s commitment to spend almost €1 million per day on walking and cycling projects and will support the roll out of high-quality active travel infrastructure in rural towns and villages right across the country. I am particularly pleased to see specific projects receiving funding as part of the Safe Routes to School programme, which we launched earlier this month.”