The jury remains out on whether the old East Mayo railway line will be developed as a greenway or remain intact to secure a rail service
The Draft Mayo County Development Plan (2021 – 2027) closed for submissions last month (March).
It received an exceptionally large volume of public submissions from people who want a greenway - walking/cycling route - developed along the old railway line in East Mayo.
However, West on Track, a group that has been campaigning for decades to have the railway line restored, also made a joint submission to the local authority in favour of Mayo County Council’s stance on protecting the Western Rail corridor for future use.
We have been hearing from both sides of the argument.
Of the total 1,265 submissions made on the Draft County Development Plan, 1,000 sought the development of a greenway on the old railway line from Charlestown to Claremorris, in order to protect the publicly-owned asset for future rail use, and to provide tourism jobs and local amenities now.
Among the 1,000 submissions on this side of the argument was Irish Rail, the owners of the closed route. It told Mayo County Council that it will support a greenway on the route with full support for the “section north of Claremorris” It is their view that a greenway will protect the route from loss to state ownership until such time as a railway might be possible.
The Dept of Transport also made a submission on the Mayo County Development Plan. It also asked the authority to consider the use of the closed railway as a greenway for now, and suggested it should be referred to as a “Transport Corridor” not just a railway line.
East Mayo Greenway Group spokesperson Michael Maye has been telling Midwest News more about the level of support for its stance from the general public.
Colmán Ó Raghallaigh of West on Track says his group submitted a single submission on the Draft Plan to Mayo County Council on behalf of its 3,000 members and supporters, and its submission supported the Council’s recently agreed stance on protecting the Western Rail Corridor for future use.
While West on Track support the plans of Mayo County Council to develop local greenways for towns like Charlestown, Swinford and Kiltimagh - they see no reason to locate these facilities on the railway route that may jeopardise the future re-opening of a major piece of transport infrastructure.
Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley spoke to Colmán about the volume of support for a greenway along the old railway route in East Mayo, as reflected by the volume of submissions on the issue to the Draft County Development Plan – nonetheless, West on Track members don’t share that view