I was astonished to read that the Green Party is opposing the introduction of a cycle path/greenway between Midleton and Youghal (Irish Examiner, October 22) and I begin to understand why it is in such a low position in the polls. You would imagine the Green Party would enthusiastically endorse the project.
Instead it supports a hare-brained, pie-in-the-sky notion that fighting to bring back a railway to Youghal, which, it assures us, might be viable in the future, is a better option. The party suggests this without researching the facts. You can afford to do that when you don’t live in a real world. You can also believe that one option excludes the other. It does not.
The present railway line is totally unsuited to modern trains and would have to be completely reinstalled. The present bridges, at Claycastle, Gortroe, and Killeagh, would be totally unsuited to modern trains and would have to be rebuilt.
This project, which, Liam Burke tells us, might be viable in the future, would cost in excess of €100m just to put in place but, he assures us, it might be viable in the future — yeah, and pigs might fly! The Midleton to Cork train is struggling financially and Midleton has a much bigger population than Youghal.
Using the existing line for a cycle and walkway would cost about €10m and be of immediate and long-term benefit to the environment and all those who would use it.
I cycle and walk for my health, my physical wellbeing. We are all encouraged to be more active. There is in Midleton now a place which has come to be known as “the fat arsed mile” — just people getting out for exercise. That is what we are encouraged to do — and having a greenway helps that activity.
Liam Burke dismisses as foul and fetid the wonderful Ballyvergan Marsh. You would imagine he might have read Pat Smiddy’s beautifully illustrated book on the wildlife to be seen there. It is the most extensive reedbed on the south coast of Ireland, a hugely important stopping point for migrating birds, the home for four species of bat, there are harriers and otters. To be able to cross over it on a raised platform surface would be an amazing experience which no train could ever offer.
There is the added factor of taking hundreds of cyclists off the main road, which would be a huge relief to motorists and cyclists.
Of course, the Government might decide to fund a railway system. This can run alongside our greenway — as it does in Dungarvan. There is adequate space for a new railway line (which, Liam Burke tells us, might be viable in the future). In the meantime could we please have our greenway and get on with our life in the real world?