It was great that we got to make our presentation to the elected members of Sligo Council on Nov. 2nd 2015 for a number of reasons. The first is, of course, that it is a major step in one one arm of our campaign, that is, the need to raise awareness and let people know exactly what we are about and what we have in mind for the stretch of railway.
Secondly, it gave us the opportunity to "go public" in a big way. Presenting our proposal to the Members - most of whom were in general support of the idea by the way - was a welcome opportunity to give them the full picture and for us to promote the campaign as the great idea it obviously is! Again, many of the Members agreed with that.
And then we were able to clear up some confusion about who Sligo Greenway Co-Op is; some members thought we were affiliated with other organisations, so it was good to be able to explain that we are of Sligo, for Sligo and it is Sligo that will get the prize! Equally important, the members now know that we do not have ambitions to take-over the railway and put it permanently out of action, but that we would, in fact, welcome the re-opening of the line in the future if that ever becomes a feasible possibility for Irish Rail. Our Secretary John McCarrick was in a position to reiterate that the project had the support of Irish Rail. So, a pretty good day all round.
Co-op member John Mulligan gave the bigger picture, so to speak by placing the idea of a Sligo Greenway into a European context. He informed the Council that around 20 million Europeans take cycling holidays each year and that Ireland doesn't have any of the kind of long-distance trails those tourists look for. He pointed out that the Government was trying address that , and tap into that huge market, with the recent idea to develop a Dublin-Galway Greenway.
John said a Sligo Greenway could realistically link-up with that route connect the North-West to that booming business.
Joe Corcoran, our Vice-Chairperson reminded the Council of the words of Transport Minister Pascal Donohue, who urged Sligo County Council to fund a feasibility study for the project. Which is, of course, what we are hoping for and one of our main reasons for our presentation.
Overall the feedback from the Councillors was positive.