Additional funding provided for footpaths in rural Wicklow locations which missed out on NTA allocation

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CATHAOIRLEACH of Baltinglass MD, Cllr John Mullen has warmly welcomed the announcement by Wicklow County Council of an additional €1.3 million in funding for footpaths in Wicklow’s rural small towns and villages.

n February, Wicklow County Council Chief Executive Brian Gleeson proposed to ring-fence funding for rural projects after members of Baltinglass Municipal District and other Districts voiced their frustrations over the lack of NTA Active Travel funding for their area. They were particularly annoyed by the preference given to urban projects by the NTA over those located in more rural areas.

Wicklow County Council this week announced additional funding of €1,3 million, which includes a number of projects within Baltinglass Municipal District.

Cllr Mullen commented: “When the active travel funding was announced earlier in the year, I highlighted that there was a huge imbalance in funding for the small towns and villages in rural Wicklow. In fact the Baltinglass MD which has two engineering areas due to its size only received €640,000 out of an allocation of €9 million. The Tinahely engineering area covering half the South West received nothing at all.

“In recognition of the obvious imbalance, the Chief Executive Brian Gleeson responded to my argument and announced that he would work with the Management team to allocate an additional fund solely for the footpath network in our many rural towns and villages.”

The newly announced funding includes projects in the Tinahely engineering area, including €110,000 for a footpath from the village to the football pitch along the R752 road from Carnew to Shillelagh. The same amount of money has also been allocated for works at Long Hill, Tinahely, from Lugduff to Kilavaney.

€50,000 will go toward a replacement footpath at Valley Heights, Carnew, leading to the school. €60,00 will go toward a footpath on the Rathdangan Road, Talbotstown, leading from the school and church to Rathdangan junction. An additional €100,000 is also being provided to provide public lighting

Other planned works include €30,000 on a Lacken school footpath, €37,000 to link footpaths across the bridge at Grangecon, €23,000 at Rathluain to link an estate with an existing footpath and €150,000 for a footpath from Hollywood village to the GAA pitch. An additional €50,000 is also being provided to provide public lighting.

The remainder of the €1.3 million has been set aside for projects in Wicklow and Arklow Municipal Districts.

Cllr Mullen added: “The announcement of €1.3 million for the projects is a real result of positive engagement with Council officials in achieving progress. For example the project for Shillelagh in bringing the footpath from the village to the nearby soccer pitch is a huge safety improvement that will ensure that players, their families and the supporters can access the facility.

“I understand that there are other villages that are disappointed that their footpaths have not been included in this round but I will continue working with Wicklow County Council to ensure that these projects are included in additional funding announcements.

“The Active Travel measures announced via the NTA must also recognise that the people living in our rural towns and villages are as deserving of improvements in their pedestrian and cycling infrastructure as our urban neighbours in larker towns. A fair slice of the funding pie is all we are asking for and I am delighted that on this occasion that some balance has been restored.”

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