Longford could be in line for a major tourism boost following confirmation of a new €300,000 cycle and walkway along the county’s Royal Canal.
Director of Services Frank Sheridan broke the news to councillors at a meeting of the local authority last week.
The route, stretching almost 17km, will link Longford town to the popular tourist village of Clondra with the aim of strengthening Longford’s fledgling tourist industry.
Mr Sheridan said the project is estimated to cost in the region of €280,000 to bring on stream, over two thirds of which is likely to come from LCRL funding.
For the vast majority of those watching on, the announcement was greeted with glowing approval.
Cllr Micheal Carrigy said the new cycle path was a timely shot in the arm for Longford’s commercial sustainability and all-round appeal.
“Hopefully, we can say in years to come when all this is done that Longford is the place to come,” he said.
“It just shows what can be done when people work together.”
Cllr Peggy Nolan, was just as forthcoming in giving her backing to the news.
“Longford certainly has turned a corner. The message should go out now that Longford most definitely is open for business,” she said.
Cllr John Duffy said the walkway would bring with it “huge benefits” to the county upon its completion.
Billed as a key cornerstone in upholding Co Longford’s future tourism potential, Longford County Council, Waterways Ireland and the County Tourism Committee have spent the past number of months working towards securing grant aid through the LEADER programme.
Earlier this year, there had been fears the project might not meet its proposed October deadline.
One of those who had expressed doubts at the time, Cllr Paul Connell chose this time to question why €1.7m in LEADER funding cut from LCRL funding in May hadn’t been ring-fenced to facilitate similar undertakings.
“I have to say I am disappointed no one from LCRL is here to answer why some of that money wasn’t allocated to other projects,” he said.