August 2020 Updates

Construction on the 2.5 km Demonstration Stretch, Ballinamore station – Corgar is in progress with a completion date expected in autumn 2020. Architectural design at the old Ballinamore Railway station is in progress and work is expected to get underway in 2021. The heritage buildings at the station shall be refurbished to provide digital hub, exhibition areas and a community space.

In 2020, the 5.5km Demonstration Stretch Ballyconnell – Ballyheady was completed by Cavan County Council and Waterways Ireland. This is classified as a Blueway because it runs along the Shannon Erne Waterway

The Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Scheme 2020 is currently open for grant applications. Ballinamore Development Company working in partnership with Leitrim County Council hope to submit a funding application for the 2.5 km Corgar to Aughawillan stretch as a Community Partnership project. See MAP section for details of completed and outstanding stretches of the route.

Progress depend on the agreement of the private landowners, planning permission being granted along with a successful grant application. It is acknowledged that the private landowners are impacted by the project in many ways and their agreement to its construction reflects their civic generosity and empathy with the wider community.

In 2021, design work on the Ballyconnel -Belturbet stretch will be completed. This is being delivered as a part of the Shannon Erne Blueway. The greenway is being progressed in a series of short Demonstration Stretches on old railway line or along the Shannon Erne Waterway ( ‘SEW Blueways’).

Background

The preliminary design and environmental screening was carried out by Cavan & Leitrim Co Councils in 2015. In 2016, it became clear that large funding for the entire project was unlikely and it was more appropriate to select a short Demonstration Stretch’ which may be completed with smaller amounts of grant funding and progressed as permissions and finance allowed. The first Demonstration Stretch selected was the 2.5km route from the former Ballinamore station ( formerly St Felims College) to Corgar Halt on the Ballyconnell route. The National Trails Office awarded a grant of €190K to Leitrim Co Co in October 2016 and detailed discussion with landowners, planning and design are currently underway. A fundraising committee in Ballinamore has now been set up to provide a community fund to support the Ballinamore Area greenways between Aughawillan and Fenagh. The major event in this fundraising campaign is a family night at Longford Greyhound Stadium on Friday, April 28th.

The route of the proposed greenway is protected in the County Development Plans for Co Cavan and Co Leitrim. The project is recommended in the Leitrim Development Company recently published ‘Recreational Strategy for County Leitrim’. The local Development Committees carried out six landowner consultation meetings in the early part of 2014 and the level of engagement from landowners was high and very positive.

Ballinamore Area Greenway Fund

The Ballinamore Area Greenway Fund is being set up to facilitate development of three possible stretches of greenway in the area:

  • Ballinamore to Corgar.
  • Corgar to Aughawillan station.
  • Canal Side Walk to Fenagh station.

The Greenway Fund shall act as the seed funding to match fund future grant aid applications when required or to improve the quality of the particular stretch.

The development of any section can only proceed with a Permitted Access agreement from each landowner. Also, Planning Permission and significant grant aid is needed.

Ballinamore Community Council are the trustees of the fund, held in the Credit Union and will have regard to the objectives of the fund. If after a period of at least 7 years ( April 2024) , a balance remains in the fund, the Community Council may, in consultation with the local greenway committee, decide to use the fund to upgrade existing greenways in their area first or secondly allocate that balance to an alternative tourism related project in the Ballinamore area. In each case to be used as match funding for grant aid.