|The final section of the Royal Canal Greenway in Co. Longford was completed at the start of 2018, and officially opened by Minister Michael Ring in February. The 6km stretch of greenway between Ballymahon and Killashee was built by Longford County Council using €525,000 allocated from the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. 250 projects with a value of €13.6m were approved under the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme to improve walking trails, greenways and other recreational amenities. Over €21 million has been allocated to 365 projects under this scheme since 2016.
With the opening of the Longford Greenway, there is now a continuous greenway along the Royal Canal all the way through counties Longford and Westmeath. This stretch of the Royal Canal Greenway provides an off-road cycling and walking route which will serve as a wonderful local amenity and encourage outdoor leisure activity within Co. Longford. It will also benefit tourism in the region and help attract visitors to the Longford area.
Opening the final section of the Royal Canal Greenway, Minister Michael Ring T.D. commented “According to Fáilte Ireland Tourism Facts 2016 over 2.5 million visitors engaged in either walking/cross country walking or cycling when they visited Ireland in 2016. This couples with the increasing use of such facilities by our own population reinforces the importance of facilities such as the Royal Canal Greenway”.
On 20 July 2018 the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin, launched the Strategy for the future development of National and Regional Greenways which sets out how National and Regional Greenways in Ireland should be planned and constructed and is backed by a fund of €53m for the years 2019 to 2021